I was reading CNN the other day and read about the state of Utah, which recently went to a 4 day work week for many of its state employees. As a result, the state hopes to save over $3 million dollars in utility costs over the course of the next year by closing over 1,000 state buildings one extra day per week.
The move would require most non-emergency personnel to work 10 hour days Monday-Thursday, instead of the traditional 8 hours Monday-Friday.
This will obviously cause a period of adjustment for state workers, as well as state residents who were, until recently, able to take care of things like getting driver’s licenses, paying taxes, and other state business 5 days a week. The benefit for residents is they will be able to take care of things either earlier or later than they previously were able to, so certain tasks may be easier for some people.
What do you think of a 4 day work week?
Personally, I love the idea. I’ve worked every shift imaginable, and I would have no problem going into work an hour earlier and coming home an hour later. I would also try to cut down my lunch break as well so I could get out a little earlier. The idea of a three day weekend every week is extremely appealing to me. I would love an extra day every week to take care of things around the house, go grocery shopping, work on my websites, and take care of everything else required in a “normal” busy life.
Unfortunately, this was recently brought up to our Vice President in an “all hands call” and the idea was quickly shot down. I work as a government contractor and we work hand in hand with military and civilian personnel who work a traditional 8-5, M-F schedule. To ask us to do anything different wouldn’t be fair to our client. We discussed the fact that telecommuting can save money for employers and employees, and that idea was taken into further consideration.
How about every other Friday off? There are similar modified schedules that gives employees every other Friday off. My neighbor works works 9 hour days and gets every other Friday off. Again, this isn’t an option for me because our mission is based on a 5 day work week, and our time is submitted weekly. But I would love to have this option as well. Even one or two extra days off per month would be a blessing in my book.
Pros to a 4 day work week. There are quite a few things I love about the idea of a 4 day work week. The most beneficial aspect is more time. No, there isn’t a magic button that makes each day have more than 24 hours. But in my opinion, you can do a lot more with with a full day off than with an extra hour or two broken up over the course of a week. Pros:
- More time at home with family.
- More time to take care of chores, shopping, and other household activities (do it all Friday and have Saturday to yourself).
- More time to devote to hobbies.
- Lower commuting costs (save money on gas!).
- Save money on food (unless you brown bag it every day).
- Do you shopping and other errands on Fridays when most people are working.
Cons to a 4 day work week. While a 4 day work week seems like a golden opportunity, it is a rare opportunity at best. And like everything else, if there are good things, there are probably some things that are bad. Cons:
- Not available for most workers (most businesses do not have the option of closing doors an extra day per week).
- Arranging day care may be difficult; particularly for single parents or those with special needs.
- 10 hour days can get long and tedious very quickly.
What do you think? Would you prefer to work four 10 hour days and have every Friday off? Or do you prefer the standard 8-5, M-F work schedule?