Lowe's workers say 'chaotic' scheduling effectively killed their weekends. Now the retailer is offering 4-day workweeks to ease the pain.
Lowe's employeeshave long decried the company's scheduling policies.
- They describe workspaces rife with low morale and troubles maintaining work-life balance.
After years of hearing employee complaints about a "chaotic" scheduling system, Lowe's is giving its full-time sales associates the option of working a four-day week.
But now the company says it's doing an overhaul, including rolling out four-day workweeks.
"Based on recent feedback, last week we began offering most full-time associates the option to schedule a four-day workweek that maintains their hours," a Lowe's spokesperson told Insider. "The majority of our full-time associates receive consecutive days off."
The spokesperson said the latest changes are meant to provide workers "more flexibility and consistency in their work schedules, while continuing to deliver outstanding customer service."
"We value the hard work of our associates and recognize that they have unique and evolving work-life needs," the spokesperson said.
The retailer saw stunning sales throughout the pandemic as customers sought to improve their homes. But growth has since slowed, and some employees have begun sounding the alarm on working conditions.
Insider spoke with six Lowe's employees from different stores about what they said were ongoing issues with the scheduling system. Insider verified the employment of the workers, who asked to remain anonymous over fears of retaliation. Insider spoke with the workers prior to Lowe's latest announcement.
They said that in the years since Lowe's began using a software program, Kronos, that sets their work hours using an algorithm — and despite an attempt last year to improve scheduling — there was a pervasive sense that getting a full weekend off work was rare.
In 2019, Lowe's began switching workers from a four-week rotation that gave them a weekend off every month to a system known as "customer-centric scheduling" that gave them a weekend off every eight weeks. That year, Insider interviewed 17 then-current and former Lowe's employees from 14 states. They said the schedule, which also meant more nonconsecutive days off, hurt morale.
After getting feedback from employees, Lowe's modified the system in 2021. "In 2019, we introduced a new scheduling program that enabled associates to request a standard shift, and last year we offered more frequent weekends off," the spokesperson said.
But employees say that to get a prized Saturday and Sunday off, they sometimes had to work six days straight.
"It pretty much holds your personal life hostage," the Florida employee told Insider. "Because you'll get one day off every six days. Then you work two or three days and get a day off, and work five or six days straight. And then you get your two days off. But a lot of that time is spent doing physical and emotional, and mental recovery."
As of last week, Lowe's is tweaking the system again.
In interviews, workers said they felt burned out by long workweeks, and struggled to accomplish tasks like going to the gym, cleaning the house, and shopping for groceries during their time off.
One longtime employee described the scheduling system as "chaotic" for workers and managers alike, and said it made it "difficult to have a work and life balance." Employees also said that the situation has exacerbated what they said is understaffing in their stores.
"Sometimes you have three to four departments empty for several hours during a workday," the longtime employee said. "Regularly there are gaps of at least an hour or more where nobody is in a department or a position — like a loader."
They said the set-up made planning activities outside of work difficult and stressful. They described a system in which in-store management has been cut off from providing much assistance.
"Everyone is tired," one employee said. "We all just want some consistency."
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