Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Counting Time at Penton

Penton Media, a major business-to-business publisher, announced that it is cutting its employees' pay and reducing the workweek from five days to four for the summer. Folio: magazine posted the text of a memo Penton CEO Sharon Rowlands wrote to staff announcing the change. Here's an excerpt:
From the week before Memorial Day through the week before Labor Day, the Company will reduce its operations from a 5-day work week to a 4-day work week. For many of our businesses this will involve closing our offices on Friday. Other businesses may need to take the reduction in blocks of days. The end result will be the same for every employee at every level however - it will equate to a four day work week and a corresponding reduction in pay to reflect this reduced work schedule. Whilst the reduction in work week will be contained only to the summer months outlined above, we will spread the pay reduction in smaller increments throughout the end of the year to reduce the immediate financial stress on you and your families.
That brings up the burning question: "whilst"?

Practically anyone who's in management at any company these days has had to make awful decisions like this. If you've escaped that responsibility, then lucky you.

I am reminded of the end of my own employment with Penton's late, great Internet World magazine back in mid-2003. The company was just about to begin what was called "summer hours," which meant that people could knock off early (3:30 pm, I think) on Fridays during summer months. But then Penton had to pull the plug on the long-suffering IW magazine. In a Wednesday conference call, the staff was informed, and we were invited to stay through Friday to wrap up loose ends. "Summer hours!" someone on the staff conference call joked.

And so it was.
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