Companies are aggressively competing for talent, and while a bring your pet to work day may work for some, a big motivating factor for a candidate to accept an offer could be a company that offers more work/life balance.

However, we’ve heard from secret squirrel wranglers that security cleared positions and programs that offer steady remote work are few and far between. There are a few sought offer benefits that recruiters can advertise to try and reach talent and remain competitive, but maybe it’s time your company accept the fact that Thursday should be the new Friday, and three-day weekends should be the norm.

BENEFITS of a four-day work week

The four-day work week is not a new concept, and some progressive organizations – mainly in countries other than the US – have been working on these schedules for years, sometimes by working longer hours in fewer days. Some candidates prefer an 8am-5pm M-F job, but what about the candidates who actually prefer shi(f)t work schedules, but maybe without the graveyard timing? Even though your contract might not traditionally have these offset hours among the team if you’re not working on a watch floor, talk with your program manager to see if shift work could work. If talent likes the idea of a three-day weekend, it could be worth the switch.

Let’s say you’re a smaller defense contractor that can’t compete with the budgets of large companies and offer the sizeable salaries and $20,000 sign-on bonuses. Try giving employees some of their time back, offering a better work-life balance that could be an effective incentive for security-cleared talent.

In addition to reaching talent, a four-day work week is also an incredible employee retention tool – some companies are seeing how cutting days during the work week can create a happier and more motivated employee base. Those employees who are more engaged are less likely to quit, requiring you to backfill.

RISKS of shortening your work week

The government usually does not adopt new processes very quickly. Would DoD programs ever move to flexible schedules like these? Some companies may not have plans to move to a four-day work week any time soon for fear of letting down their customers or creating other headaches for HR teams. If your company isn’t ready to adapt, but still strongly believes in work/life balance, perhaps you could pitch ‘flexible Fridays’ or flexible PTO for team members to take time away from work, while still moving the business forward.

Trying to stuff five-day work weeks into four could also cause scheduling headaches, especially if your team has lots of meetings or 1:1 sessions with your supervisor. Maybe this means that companies will find out what’s really important and cut out unnecessary meetings.

If pilot programs with these schedules really do relieve employees of stress and become a good benefit to attract talent, leaders may be faced with a strong case for making Thursday the new Friday.



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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 8+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸