The 4 Day Work Week

by Kelly Sullivan

Every once in a while, we here in the United States are blessed with the rare but beautiful three day weekend due to a national holiday. If you felt an unusual sense of joy, relief, relaxation, recharge, or happiness this week, you are not alone.

While the five day workweek model worked well in the past, it was born in an era where factory work was the norm. People would get up, go to work, do their jobs and go home. It was that simple.

With ever-advancing technology and an uptick in desk/office jobs, the complaints of burnout and lack of a work-life balance are more frequent than ever before.

While most (not all) companies allow their employees paid time off for the few national holidays we have each year, some are now even considering adopting a four day workweek year round.

But a shorter workweek doesn’t mean less work. One increasingly popular option for companies is offering a workweek where all of an employee’s hours are condensed into four days instead of five. This adaptation comes with pros and cons, so let us break some of them down for you.

Here are some of the most important things to consider when thinking about a four day workweek for you and your employees.

Reduced Costs/Carbon Footprint

Cutting a day out of the workweek reduces costs for everyone. 

Obviously, if the office is shut down for an extra day then you would see a significant drop in running costs. On top of this, employees have one less day to commute and one less day to spend money on things like coffee and lunch. This can make a huge difference for a lot of people.

If you want to do your part for the planet, keeping employees off the road and keeping the lights off 20% of the time is going to make a big dent. 

Happy Employees

Having a three day weekend gives employees an extra day to recharge and spend time doing the things they love with the people they love. This allows them to come back to the office feeling productive and ready to work.

A Henley Business School poll of business leaders found that 62% reported fewer sick days being used. When employees have that extra day off during traditional business hours, they’re able to schedule appointments and take care of personal matters more easily and without taking time away from the job.

Don’t Take A One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Remember the importance of flexibility. Four, ten-hour workdays could prove to be difficult for some employees based on their children or other obligations

Employers have to consider if and how their employees could make up hours to prevent them from getting overly stressed, while making sure their work isn’t affected.

Organizations should also consider if employees get to choose their free day or if there will be a standard day across the organization. While Friday seems like the ideal day off, it might not work for everyone.

Consider the Impact on Your Customers

A critical component to ensuring how you are going to implement the four-day workweek is understanding how it will impact customer satisfaction.

If you work in an industry or sector where this will significantly impact your customer base, then consider empowering employees to analyze when they experience the highest customer traffic, and ensure the new schedule is set up with this in mind. 

For some organizations, half of their employees take Mondays off, while the other half takes off on Friday. The need to have your team available for customers or for other team members may limit your ability to implement a four day workweek.

Is a four-day week right for your business? We still don’t know for sure whether a four-day week is the solution to the changing 21st century workplace or not.

But, what is certain is that small businesses will have to keep an open mind. Flexibility, trust, preparation and accountability will all come into play on both the side of the employer and the employee. 

If you are an organization considering a four day work week, hats off to you for evolving with the times! Just don’t forget to consider all sides so that you can be as prepared as possible for whatever might come your way. We are rooting for your success stories!


Want more from Outgrow Your Garage?

-If you’re looking for business support, stop by our co-working sessions! Twice a week, we virtually bring business owners together from a variety of industries to work on their businesses, share insights, and troubleshoot issues.

-Check out our full online business course catalog for all of your operational needs! Select a course based on what area of your business you need help in, and pay a one time fee for unlimited access to its content, activities, and resources.

Email Aliases – Simplicity, Privacy & Organization

by Kelly Sullivan

If you can relate to the daunting, messy abyss that our email inboxes can become, then this week’s blog is for you. 

Whether you’re out for vacation and your unread emails pile up, or you’re so busy on a day to day basis that you just can’t read them all before they start to stack up, just know that it happens to the best of us. 

Consider using an email alias – an alternative address that still directs emails to your primary inbox. This allows you to use a different email address than your primary address, without having to set up an entirely new email account. 

When you set up your primary email address, that’s the address that you send and receive mail from. An email alias, however, allows you to create other email addresses within that account that will forward incoming messages to your primary email address.

These alternative aliases can be put to many good uses, like organizing your inbox or protecting your privacy. Any mail sent to these email variations will arrive at the same inbox as messages meant for your main address, while hiding your primary email address. 

You can also set up phone aliases for your business, which work in the same way that an email alias does. Google Voice is a free way to associate a personalized phone number to your business without paying for an entirely new line. There are phone companies that can provide you with this service as well. 

Here are some considerations when thinking about setting up aliases for your business.

Control Your Online Identity

Email aliases give you control of your identity online. Like me, some of you may have created your primary email address when you were in the third grade. For most of us, misshottielovesdogs479@comcast.net just isn’t going to cut it anymore. 

Unfortunately for most of us, this email can’t just be deleted because family members, important subscriptions, and other random but important emails still come through to this embarrassingly named address. Email aliases can be created, named, or even deactivated and deleted with just a click of your mouse. And they’re free. It’s as simple as that.

Protect Your Personal Space and Privacy

To my surprise, I’ve come across many business owners who still have their personal cell phone number on their business cards or website. As someone who appreciates my personal time outside of work hours, I never use any of my personal phone numbers for business purposes. 

To each their own – but for those of you who reel at the idea of clients contacting you at any given hour of any given day, consider a Google Voice phone number (free) or an app like Grasshopper (paid). These options act as a customized business phone number, so clients can only reach you during work hours and through a number that is directly attached to your business.

Google Voice gives you a phone number for calls, texts, and voicemails. You can use this number to make domestic and international calls from your web browser and mobile devices. If you’re in the US or Canada, you can choose your own number. 

Keep Your Email Organized

A great way to keep your emails organized with an email alias is to create a specific folder for them, and then automatically have all incoming messages to that alias added into that folder to keep them separate from your personal emails. This makes them easily identifiable from your other emails.

For example, let’s say you decide to attach a personalized business email to your primary email account. You choose your business email as info@example.com, and create a correlating folder titled Info Emails. You can have all of the emails that get sent to your info@ alias automatically directed into the Info Emails folder, which helps you keep them separate from the emails you get from your mom about birthday dinner plans.

Easy Set-Up on Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud and Outlook

For example, setting up an email alias through your Google email looks something like this:

  • Open Gmail, and open the settings menu by selecting the gear icon in the top right of your inbox.
  • Select See All Settings.
  • Find the Accounts tab. Under the Send Mail As: section, select Add another email address.
  • Enter the email alias you wish to add.
  • Leave “Treat as an alias” checked and select Next Step.
  • Follow the instructions to verify your alias.

You can do this for as many aliases as you want. You can also delete an alias at any time. 

Creating an email alias is an easy and simple way to create a professional business presence without having to spend money. An alias is also a useful tactic for those who don’t want to disclose their personal emails online, need a temporary email address, or want a simple way to stay organized. 

Check that whatever email platform you already use supports aliases (it likely does), get your alias set up in a few simple steps, and see how much easier your life gets! You can thank us later.


Want more from Outgrow Your Garage?

-If you’re looking for business support, stop by our co-working sessions! Twice a week, we virtually bring business owners together from a variety of industries to work on their businesses, share insights, and troubleshoot issues.

-Check out our full online business course catalog for all of your operational needs! Select a course based on what area of your business you need help in, and pay a one time fee for unlimited access to its content, activities, and resources.

5 Reasons to Have a Project Gallery on Your Website

by Jessi Burg

This week, we’re starting with one of my favorite questions from service providers: Do I really need a project gallery? The answer is yes! If your business offers any kind of service, like house cleaning, graphic design, or HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) installation, you should have some kind of project gallery on your website. 

Why? Let’s break it down. There are a few reasons why I believe that a project gallery is one of the most important tools in your sales kit.

  1. Do More of the Projects You Love

Depending on your business, there are probably some projects that you like doing more than others. A good project gallery highlights your favorite projects – which means that clients who want those types of projects are more likely to contact you for work. 

Think about it this way: What recent projects did you really enjoy? What did you like about them? What parts got you excited? Show these off! Remember, it’s your business, so you get to decide what kind of work you want to do. 

If you haven’t already, start taking before, during, and after photos of your work. The more photos you have to choose from, the easier it will be to find examples of jobs you want to highlight. As a bonus, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from if you want to change up your gallery.

  1. Differentiate Yourself from the Competition

For most people, there are other businesses that work within your area or industry. What makes you different? Do you handle smaller projects? Do you excel at logistical management? Do you leave your job sites extra clean? Are you focused on sustainability or using locally sourced materials? In effect, your project gallery should display what it is that makes you stand out. 

What’s great about your project gallery is that it’s yours. Tell the story of your business through the images you choose. Take jobsite photos to highlight your safety protocols or your diverse crew. Show off that textured wall repair that you did as an add-on for a house painting job. How can you present to a client the things that set you apart?

  1. Educate Potential Clients about Your Industry

You might be thinking, “But my business doesn’t lend itself to pretty pictures, so how am I supposed to highlight jobs?!” This is where your project gallery summary comes in. In this case, pictures are only as good as the explanation that goes with them. Clients look at project galleries for two reasons: they want to know what you do and who your client base is, and how much you charge.

So be sure to explain your projects – including pricing. This is your chance to discuss how your business works so that your clients are prepared during a future estimate. 

For example, if you’re an electrician who works mostly in single family homes, you might have a project gallery that shows the before and after of a re-wired breaker box with an explanation of why a homeowner might need to replace their old breakers, and how much this type of project costs in labor and materials. 

What do you wish your clients knew about your industry and how you work? You can demonstrate that through explaining a common project type.

  1. Allow Clients to Qualify Themselves

If you are in an industry that first requires an estimate, you want to know that you’re what a client is looking for before you spend time with them. Clients will have a clearer idea of what you do and how you do it through your project gallery. If you’re a commercial HVAC company focusing on new builds, a gallery will help you avoid getting calls from residential clients looking to have a humidifier installed. 

As a bonus, if you include pricing in your project gallery (recommended), this will give clients a ballpark idea of what to expect cost-wise. Whether you’re a photographer or a dog walker, most people won’t know what a job costs. If clients can budget accordingly, you can avoid sticker shock during the estimate.

  1. Show off Your Work/Publicize Yourself

Lastly, you want to show off your work! Tell your clients that you’ve included their project in your gallery, and they’ll show their friends and neighbors. Include a link in your e-mail signature, on your Facebook profile, or in your response to a Next Door post. This way, more people will hear about your business – leading to you landing more of your targeted clientele.


Want more from Outgrow Your Garage?

-If you’re looking for business support, stop by our co-working sessions! Twice a week, we virtually bring business owners together from a variety of industries to work on their businesses, share insights, and troubleshoot issues.

-Check out our full online business course catalog for all of your operational needs! Select a course based on what area of your business you need help in, and pay a one time fee for unlimited access to its content, activities, and resources.