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The Intel Life: Long Days and Long Weekends

I know a few people who work at Intel in Phoenix and one of them is considering a move to a new part of the company. He described how they are maximizing productivity and I thought it was interesting.

  • 12-Hour workdays (6 am to 6 pm)
  • Rotating number of workdays per week: 4 and 3 days
  • Allows Intel to keep a day and night crew
  • Basically you get a 3 or 4 day weekend every single week

I wanted to find out what you thought of this set up and whether you’d do it? Does it benefit the employer or the employee more?

By Chris Tingom

Principal of Tornado Design, a Phoenix, AZ based web consultancy

5 replies on “The Intel Life: Long Days and Long Weekends”

It actually makes good sense if you ask me. If you’re really into your work, that extra few hours per day will be more productive than going home early and putting them in the following day. It’s all about momentum. And you’ve got the added incentive of a long weekend to look forward to so you don’t feel ripped off during the week. Hey, I’d do it!

You have two types of people. Those who drudge through their jobs because they know they need money, and then you have those who embrace their work and pursue good solutions with passion.

Clearly, the model at Intel plays on the latter, and the 3 or 4 days weekends are offered as a reward to those who are willing to buy in to the Intel work paradigm. Let’s face it: if you work a 12 hr day at an office, you’ve pretty much resigned yourself to doing nothing else that day, especially if you have a family.

I think from an employer’s perspective, that’s asking a lot, and I also think that Intel should be applauded for recognizing that employees deserve rewards for this type of commitment. Weekly rewards (in terms of time) probably go much further than the occasional, nebulous “bonus” idea, so I think this is a fairly good solution for productivity.

Still, I think the office environment sucks in general, and I look at this whole issue as a “how can we make a crappy situation better” kind of thing. This is not the type of question I care to ask.

In Texas, a lot of silicon manufacturing companies follow this sort of time schedule. I knew one of the guys who worked it and he was an assembly line kinda guy and he had no love for it.

Dunno about everything else though.

I used to work at a steelworks here in Australia, and they used 12-hour shifts for production and maintenance personnel. Us engineers still worked 8-hour days, 5 days a week.

The 12-hour guys mostly liked it. I think it was tough on guys that had little kids at home, as they’d be in bed by the time Daddy got home and they could go a couple of days without even seeing their kids. But then they got 3, 4 and occasionally 5 day weekends, where they could get involved in their kids’ schools, take the family away for a long weekend holiday, etc.

The single guys loved it, because they could go away fishing, surfing, camping, motorbike riding or whatever for several days at a time, often mid-week when there weren’t other people doing those things too.

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