Recently, as energy prices have soared, a renewed concern about global warming has amassed, and in an effort to shave business costs, many employers, both private and public, are considering four day workweeks. Generally, this means four 10 hour shifts as opposed to the more traditional five 8 hour shifts.
Utah's Governor recently signed an executive order mandating a four day workweek for 17,000 of its 24,000 workforce as a means to shave operating costs.
Locally, Folsom ad agency, Barcelona, Inc. is also going with a four day workweek, 10 hours per day, Monday through Thursday. Their reasoning - reduce energy costs and do something right for the environment by reducing their employees commute by one workday.
There are many other examples out there. Is it the right time and the right thing to do?
Consider the pro's:
-Less cars on the road for the morning and end of day commute equals less greenhouse and ozone causing emmissions;
-Less cars on the road - as a day off does not neccesarily equate to hopping in the car, with this, one could argue, less fuel being used;
-Employees benefit by being able to stay close to home on thier extra day off and save money on fuel;
-For businesses, depending upon the operation, it would allow them to shut off the lights and the heating and air conditioning for an extra day, saving money and helping take a load off of energy demand;
-Employees could become more productive because they have the extra day off where they can attend to personal obligations and appointments; equaling less time off during normal working hours;
-Potentially reduce the amount of daycare costs for the employee on the four day workweek schedule;
-From an economic standpoint, the extra day off may equate to more spending as those employees enjoy an extra day to play a round of golf, go shopping or take a long weekend vacation;
-The extra day off gives employees a chance to spend more time with family and friends.
Some cons to consider:
-For some businesses and government agencies, this would mean less days to serve their customer base, depending on how a four day workweek is implemented;
-For those who have to pay hourly for daycare, this may be a wash in costs to them or it may add up to more in daycare costs;
-A 10 hour workday may be hard for some people to handle. Personally, I have done it and it wouldn't be a problem, but I know that it is a challenge for some to keep productive, especially at the end of the workday.
So, my take - I think that the pro's of a four day work week speak for themselves - more productivity, more family time, greater economic benefits, a benefit for the environment and a counter to rising fuel costs.
What's your take - Is a four day workweek a good or bad idea?