When running a business, it’s important to understand what constitutes a standard business day and workweek.
The length of a typical business day and workweek can vary by industry, location, company policies, and other factors.
Knowing the norms for business hours, workdays, and holidays helps set customer expectations, coordinate projects across companies, schedule meetings and deadlines, arrange shipping cutoffs, and align worker shifts properly.
This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need about the long business days and typical workweek duration.
What is Considered a Business Day?
In general terms, a business day is a day when normal business operations take place. Non-business days are days when most companies are closed.
The most common business days are Monday through Friday. Most businesses operate during daytime hours on these weekdays.
Saturdays and Sundays are typically non-business days when companies are closed or have limited hours.
Federal bank holidays are also usually non-business days when banks and many companies are closed, such as Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Independence Day, etc.
Some industries may have extended business hours into the evenings, weekends, or even 24/7 operations, depending on the nature of the work.
But in general, business days mean Monday through Friday unless otherwise specified.
Average Length of a Business Day
The typical business days in the U.S. is 8 hours long, usually from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This equates to a 40-hour workweek if operating Monday to Friday.
However, start and end times can vary significantly.
- Retail stores, especially in malls, may operate from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Law firms often work longer hours, like 8 am to 6 pm.
- Manufacturing companies may run shifts early in the morning through late evening.
- Banks typically operate from around 8 am to 5 pm.
- Government offices like the DMV might be open from 7 am to 4 pm.
So, while the norm is 8 hours, the business hours depend on the company and industry. It’s common for the workday to run approximately 8-12 hours in total.
Average Business Hours Per Week
The standard business workweek in the United States is 40 hours. This assumes an 8-hour workday from Monday to Friday.
Among full-time salaried workers, the average workweek is longer than 40 hours:
- Professional services like finance, law, etc.: 49 hours
- Manufacturing: 42 hours
- Retail: 37 hours
- Healthcare: 36 hours
- Government: 39 hours
Some companies expressly have a 37-40 hour workweek policy to minimize overtime.
Others have embraced policies like a 32-hour, 4-day workweek to improve work-life balance while still getting full-time output.
But in many professional fields like accounting, investment banking, management consulting, and law, 50-70+ hour workweeks are common.
For many companies, the reality is longer than a standard 40-hour workweek.
Average Number of Business Days Per Week
The most common number of business days in a week is 5 – Monday through Friday.
This holds for the majority of companies and industries.
Some exceptions include:
- Retail stores may be open 6-7 days a week.
- Businesses with shift workers, like hotels or hospitals, operate 7 days.
- Some manufacturers run 6-day weeks with Saturday half days.
- Accounting and law firms can work 6-day weeks during busy seasons.
In these cases, employees typically work a 5-day week, but the business is open 6-7 days.
The normal Monday to Friday schedule remains the most common.
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How Many Business Days Per Month?
The number of business days per month averages around 21. However, this varies from 19 to 23 depending on how weekends and holidays fall.
Months with national holidays will have fewer business days. For example:
- January – 21 days
- February – 20 days
- March – 22 days
- April – 21 days
- May – 22 days
- June – 21 days
- July – 22 days
- August – 23 days
- September – 21 days
- October – 22 days
- November – 21 days
- December – 21 days
The lowest business days are during months with holidays like July, May, and December. August tends to have the most business days.
Average Paid Time Off (PTO)
Full-time employees at most companies receive paid vacation days, sick days, and personal time off.
The average number of paid time off (PTO) days at US companies is 10-15.
However, paid time off allowances scale higher with seniority:
- Entry-level roles may start with 10 days PTO.
- After 5 years, typical PTO rises to 15 days.
- 10 years of experience often comes with 20 PTO days.
- 20+ years can reach up to 25 paid days off.
Unlimited PTO policies are also becoming more common, where employees don’t have an allotted number of days but take time as needed. This averages around 15-25 days as well.
How Holidays Affect Business Days
Major national holidays impact business days, as most companies close for the day.
The Federal Reserve observes 11 national bank holidays. Private companies often observe 8-10 of the major holidays below:
- New Year’s Day – January 1
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day – Third Monday in January
- Presidents’ Day – Third Monday in February
- Memorial Day – Last Monday in May
- Juneteenth – June 19
- Independence Day – July 4
- Labor Day – First Monday in September
- Thanksgiving Day – Fourth Thursday in November
- Christmas Day – December 25
Other holidays, like Columbus Day, Veterans Day, etc., are observed by some companies but not uniformly.
The above major holidays most often result in business closures.
Regional and Religious Holidays
Beyond national holidays, business days are also impacted by regional and religious holidays.
- Carnival in New Orleans or Fat Tuesday
- Easter Monday regional holiday
- Good Friday and Easter Sunday
- Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah in Jewish communities
- Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan for Muslims
- Diwali in Hindu communities
- Orthodox Christmas on January 7th
- Orthodox Good Friday
These religious and regional holidays affect local business operations and schedules.
It’s good business practice to know any major local holidays relevant to your customer base or employees.
How Half-Days Impact Business Hours
Some companies close early on holidays or days before major holidays. Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, July 3rd, and Thanksgiving Friday are common half-days.
Businesses may operate on reduced hours from 7 am to 12 pm instead of closing fully.
Half-days only count as 4-hour business days versus the standard 8-hour day.
Know that working hours for clients and partners may be abbreviated.
Special Business Hours Situations
Besides holidays, other special situations can impact business hours:
- Summer Fridays – closing early on Fridays in summer
- Bad weather days – closed due to snow, storms, or natural disasters
- Company events – closing for annual conferences, retreats, etc.
- Employee events – closing for holiday parties, picnics, etc.
Make sure to communicate any special shortened hours or closures to clients in advance to avoid issues.
Typical Start and End Times
While the length of business hours varies, the typical opening and closing times follow general standards:
- Open Time – Most businesses open between 7 am to 10 am. The most common hours are 8 am to 9 am. Retail and malls often open at 10 am after morning commutes settle.
- Closing Time – Closing times are typically 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for most industries. Many close at 5 pm or 6 pm. Mall retail can extend to 8 p.m. or 9 p.m.
- Lunch Time – Lunch breaks normally last 30 minutes to 1 hour, sometime between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Lunches may overlap from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Of course, these are generalizations. Many companies have alternate hours, like law firms working 8 am to 6 pm. Get clarity on clients’ exact hours to correctly time calls and visits.
Overtime and Extended Hours
Some roles necessitate working beyond standard business hours for overtime or to serve customers across time zones.
Common examples include:
- IT and cybersecurity staff monitoring systems overnight
- Nurses and hospital staff working overnight or double shifts
- Customer service reps covering an evening help desk
- Lawyers working late to meet case deadlines
- Accountants during tax season
- Engineers testing overnight or working swing shifts
- Onsite technicians serving 24/7 infrastructure
Ensure staffing to support any off-hour workload when required. And establish clear overtime pay policies.
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Flexible Work Schedules
Remote work has also expanded flexible work schedules beyond the standard 9-to-5.
Options like these help attract talent:
- Flex time – Must work core hours (like 11 am-3 pm) but flexible start and end times
- Compressed weeks – Working full 40+ hours in under 5 days, such as 4 10-hour days
- Earlier or later hours – Starting at 7 am or ending at 7 pm
- Summer Fridays – Half day on Fridays in summer
- Remote workdays – Working certain days remotely
Flexible scheduling helps employees manage commutes, childcare, and other demands. But it requires clear communication and coordination.
Tracking Business Days for Deadlines
Business days exclude weekends and holidays for setting deadlines and tracking project schedules spanning multiple weeks.
- If a 5-day turnaround is required, don’t count Saturday/Sunday
- A 10 business day response time excludes weekends
- Similarly, project plans should schedule work across business days
Calendars that highlight holidays and track only business days help manage multi-week efforts.
Customer Service Business Hours
To provide phone, chat, and email support, most companies set official customer service hours based on peak demand.
Typical windows are:
- Weekdays 7 am – 7 pm
- Saturdays 9 am – 5 pm
- Sundays 10 am – 4 pm
Having defined service hours helps set expectations. Extended hours can provide support across time zones also.
For global companies, 24/7 worldwide support may be necessary. Budget to staff extended hours and consider time zone overlap.
Best Practices for Business Hours
Some best practices regarding business hours include:
- Advertise Hours Accurately – Across website, signage, and online listings
- Train staff on hours – Ensure employees know opening and closing procedures
- Communicate closures – Highlight holidays, half-days, and special closures
- Offer off-hour support – Provide phone/chat options for extended service
- Consider flex schedules – Offer flexibility for some roles if possible
- Track time-off – Use software to manage PTO and time-tracking
- Standardize calendars – Share the same business day calendar company-wide
Publishing your hours clearly and planning accordingly for holidays and absences contributes to solid business operations.
- The standard business week is Monday to Friday.
- Typical business hours run from 8 am to 5 pm, though exact hours vary widely.
- The average business day spans 8-10 hours.
- Standard business weeks assume 40 hours across 5 days.
- There are around 21 business days per month on average.
- Major holidays like Christmas reduce the number of active business days.
- Employees receive around 10-15 paid time off days on average.
- Regional and religious holidays also affect local business hours.
- Half-days, summer hours, and special events alter schedules periodically.
- Tracking calendars by business days accounts for weekends and holidays in deadlines.
- Clear communication of schedules and closures is essential.
Understanding typical business hours and days and planning accordingly will keep your company accessible to customers and on the same page with vendors and partners.