Veronica Brillon HR Consultant

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Exploring the Four Day Work Week

Posted on March 20, 2012 at 11:05 AM

The idea of a four-day work week has been gaining ground with some HR departments.  Among the employees, supporters like the idea of having a mid-week day off or three-day weekends every weekend.  Detractors express concerns with being able to find childcare for the extended hours.  From a company standpoint, having employees available ten hours a day certainly has its advantages, particularly when servicing multiple time zones.  It also allows for employees to schedule routine doctor’s appointments and other personal needs for their regular days off rather than take a potentially disruptive PTO day.  However, negative factors such as worker fatigue must also be factored into the equation, as productivity may decrease later into a ten-hour day. In addition, there must be enough employees within any critical departments to cover for days off. Scheduling critical meetings may become difficult if key employees areout of the office.  Ultimately, every company’s needs are different and the decision to experiment with a four-daywork week needs to be carefully evaluated. 

A real life example:

In 2008, Utah became the first state to mandate a four-daywork week for state employees.  Theynoted a 13 percent decrease on energy usage. They also estimate that it saved employees a combined $6 million thatwould have been spent on gasoline to get to work.  However, Utah recently abandoned its four-daywork week experiment because it was not saving as much money as lawmakers hadhoped.  In addition, residents wereunhappy because of the lack of access to services.  Other state and municipal governments havehad better results and continue to use the four-day model.

Categories: Human Resources Strategies

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