Longer Construction Workdays Come with Advantages and Disadvantages

Given the demands of a construction day, the hours are not the typical 9-5 fare found elsewhere. Different projects require workers to be on-site for varying amounts of time. In order to get more construction done per day, some have considered extending the construction workday. This idea is not universally embraced, and it carries with it some advantages and disadvantages.

A longer construction workday has some definite drawbacks that need to be considered. Namely, construction is a physically-demanding profession—one in which workers need enough rest to be ready from day-to-day. Extending the workday would put more strain on workers in a single work day, which could lead to a greater risk of injury and decreased morale.

However, extending the construction workday could provide some benefits. For one, greater amounts of work could be completed daily. While it is true that longer days could be straining to workers, the overall duration of projects could be decreased if more work is done daily. It could cut down the total amount of days a project needs to be completed. Finishing projects early makes it possible to do more projects in the long run.

At this point, extending the construction workday becomes a matter of weighing the benefits and drawbacks. In one regard, doing more creates a greater opportunity to bring in a larger quantity of money—not just for the higher-ups, but for employees, as well, in the form of increased wages. However, increased physical strain and decreased morale can prove troublesome, especially with the former, where the cost of taking on new workers as replacements and compensating injured workers can be a major financial drain. And decreased morale can lead to disgruntled workers, which could pull them away from a contractor whose workdays are longer. So, the overall ramifications of an extended workday boil down to the magnitude to which the workday is expanded. Keeping it too short could decrease productivity and, therefore, cost, but making it too long could be harmful in that it could potentially be a tough pill to swallow for workers—and they are key cogs in the functioning of any construction operation.

The extension of the construction workday has been proposed by some. And, with any suggestion, it is necessary to examine the positives and negatives. While extending it can increased productivity, it could also prove to be unpalatable to workers if it is done to too great of an extent. With this in mind, the question of making the construction workday longer boils down to finding a happy medium.

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