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Thread: Utah saves money by going to 4 day work week

  1. #1
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Utah saves money by going to 4 day work week

    Any thoughts on this? Would you rather work 4 10 hour days than 5 8 hour days?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/ut_four_day_workweek

    Utah's 4-day workweek brings some dividends

    By PAUL FOY, Associated Press Writer Paul Foy, Associated Press Writer Thu Oct 22, 8:04 am ET

    SALT LAKE CITY Closing Utah state offices on Fridays has delivered an unexpected bonus: a big saving on overtime pay.

    New calculations show Utah saved $4.1 million in the first year of a government experiment with a four-day workweek.

    State employees were eager to leave after the longer workday, and weren't inclined to work an extra hour or two.

    "They're getting what they need to get done in 10 hours and going home," said Angie Welling, spokeswoman for Gov. Gary Herbert.

    "The state envisioned some energy savings, but that overtime number was not anticipated," she said Wednesday.

    Utah was the first state in the country to shut down most of its services on Fridays. Other states took notice. Hawaii tried a limited four-day week last fall, when a similar program was under way in Washington state. Lawmakers in at least two other states West Virginia and Virginia have also looked into adopting a four-day workweek.

    Former Gov. Jon Huntsman made the switch for Utah in August 2008, largely to cut energy costs.

    Utah, however, achieved only a sixth of the $3 million it expected to trim on energy costs.

    The state couldn't shut down as many state buildings as it planned on Fridays, officials said, and it didn't save much by closing the smaller buildings.

    Also, the state assumed gasoline for state fleet car use and building utility costs would soar, and it would save as much.

    Both expenditures actually fell over the past year, however. Utah has some of the lowest utility rates in the country.

    The energy saving came out to $502,000 for the year. The state also saved $200,000 on janitorial services. With reduced overtime expenses, the total saving was $4.8 million.

    The figures were released Wednesday by Herbert's strategic planner, Mike Hansen.

    The new governor Huntsman left to become the U.S. ambassador to China is undecided on whether to stick with the program, Welling said.

    "He's still reviewing the results. He feels like we have good data on the amount of cost savings, employee satisfaction and the energy reduction. What he things is missing is input from the public," she said.

    To that end, Herbert will commission a poll of public sentiment citizens lost a day of government service with the switch.

    State workers are largely happy. Another survey found 85 percent of the workers like working four longer days better than five shorter ones.

    Working mothers like Carolyn Dennis she has two young sons found a way to adjust.

    "It's actually a lot easier than the five-hour day, because I have all day Friday to clean and run errands and still have the whole weekend to spend with my kids," said Dennis, customer service manager for the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.

    "I actually found it's freed up my time. We never did anything in the evening anyway, but having that extra day has made it easier to be a working mom."

    Dennis leaves the Salt Lake City suburb of West Jordan at 5:45 a.m. with her youngest, a 2-year-old, in tow. she drops him at a day care center near work in downtown Salt Lake City. Her husband, a business owner, drops the couple's 7-year-old son, a first-grader, at school.

    Dennis works from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., skipping lunch hour and leaving a half-hour earlier than normal. That allows her to cut down a long day for her youngest.

    "I started out getting him dressed while he was still asleep, but now he's getting up early for breakfast. Ryan is still on a malleable infant schedule. He's happy and smiling when I drop him off, so it makes my day go better," she said.

    All things considered, Dennis would never switch back.
    "I do love the 4/10 and told my boss if they take it away, I'll probably cry," she said.
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  3. #2
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    Re: Utah saves money by going to 4 day work week

    I'd rather work a 4-day, 8-hour.

  4. #3
    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: Utah saves money by going to 4 day work week

    You're going to see this become the norm for government workers around America if the economy doesn't improve.

    There are some unintended side effects, though. Here in Cincinnati, I know several buisnesses (mostly restaurants) that depend on the daily traffic from county and city workers to make ends meet. Closing down the offices one day per week costs them a sizable chunk of their business.

    But, such is the reality of the "new" American economy.
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    Re: Utah saves money by going to 4 day work week

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    Any thoughts on this? Would you rather work 4 10 hour days than 5 8 hour days?
    Yes, definately.

  6. #5
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Utah saves money by going to 4 day work week

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    You're going to see this become the norm for government workers around America if the economy doesn't improve.

    There are some unintended side effects, though. Here in Cincinnati, I know several buisnesses (mostly restaurants) that depend on the daily traffic from county and city workers to make ends meet. Closing down the offices one day per week costs them a sizable chunk of their business.

    But, such is the reality of the "new" American economy.
    I could see them doing this at the school I work at. In summer, we don't schedule too many classes for Fridays in the first place. Our office - in an effort to improve customer service - is now open till 6:30 Monday thru Thursdays. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to just have everyone work 8-6:30 M-Th and be off on Fridays. But that would also require changing class times for students. Instead of going an hour a day 3 days a week for some classes they would have to go an hour and a half a day 2 days a week.
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    Re: Utah saves money by going to 4 day work week

    Honestly, I would like to see all govt offices go to 4 day work weeks to save money.

    I'd like to have the option. Another good option would be to allow more telecommuting., especially for those who spend 8 hours a day sitting behind a computer anyway.

  8. #7
    Go Reds Go! UKFlounder's Avatar
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    Re: Utah saves money by going to 4 day work week

    Never mind - she does work 10 hours, my math was wrong.

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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Utah saves money by going to 4 day work week

    Unless all schools and all workplaces also go to a four-day schedule, I would be opposed. The ten-hour day would be cutting two hours off the amount of time I can spend with my family each night. So-what if I'm off on Friday? They're in school or at work, so the time with them is not "made up" by being off on Fridays.

    Furthermore, our house is a busy place on weeknights, with homework, dinner, baths, and everything else that needs doing. My wife and I do well to sit down for an hour each evening before bedtime. I can't imagine taking two hours away from our weeknight routine. Families spend too little time together as it is.

    I think the four-day plan is fine for singles and couples without children, but I think it would put a strain on the family unit for those that have kids, unless everyone was on the same schedule.

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    Re: Utah saves money by going to 4 day work week

    For a while, I worked a 9/80 schedule. 8 9 hour days, 1 8 hour day, and 1 day off every other week. It was great. As an office, we also staggered the start/end times for each day, as well as days off. The result was that we each had 1 day off every other week, but the office remained open every day. And since someone came in early to work the extra hour, and someone else stayed later to work the extra hour, the office hours were extended on both the front and back end every day.

    The issue, though, is that it doesn't work for all offices, or even everyone in a single office all of the time.

    If you implement a schedule like that, or at least give employees the option to work an alternate schedule, the real savings don't come in the form of utilities savings. Rather, the real savings come in the form of giving employees the flexibility to better balance work & needs outside of work. That should theoretically result in lower turnover in the long run which means fewer recruiting / training / learning curve costs.

  11. #10
    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: Utah saves money by going to 4 day work week

    Quote Originally Posted by macro View Post
    Unless all schools and all workplaces also go to a four-day schedule, I would be opposed. The ten-hour day would be cutting two hours off the amount of time I can spend with my family each night. So-what if I'm off on Friday? They're in school or at work, so the time with them is not "made up" by being off on Fridays.

    Furthermore, our house is a busy place on weeknights, with homework, dinner, baths, and everything else that needs doing. My wife and I do well to sit down for an hour each evening before bedtime. I can't imagine taking two hours away from our weeknight routine. Families spend too little time together as it is.

    I think the four-day plan is fine for singles and couples without children, but I think it would put a strain on the family unit for those that have kids, unless everyone was on the same schedule.
    I see your point and sympathize, but the issue boils down (usually) to this reality:

    1. Loss of employment / Loss of money (via furloughs or pay cuts)
    2. Switched scheduling

    When the choice is presented in those terms, I think the 4/10 schedule is a far better option than many others. Longer workdays strain the family, but diminished financial resources likely strain the family just as much.

    Your comment brings up a larger issue that society will continue to face, however -- the idea that we're going to have to accept, as a nation, that life is going to be different for our kids than it was for us. Just as the single-breadwinner household has largely gone the way of the dinosaur, so too will the soccer-mom / soccer-dad lifestyle. The days of parents having free time to commit their kids to things like sports practices, sports games, scouting, etc. are rapidly coming to an end.
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    Re: Utah saves money by going to 4 day work week

    I'd much rather work 4 10 than 5 8.
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    Re: Utah saves money by going to 4 day work week

    Quote Originally Posted by 15fan View Post
    For a while, I worked a 9/80 schedule. 8 9 hour days, 1 8 hour day, and 1 day off every other week. It was great. As an office, we also staggered the start/end times for each day, as well as days off. The result was that we each had 1 day off every other week, but the office remained open every day. And since someone came in early to work the extra hour, and someone else stayed later to work the extra hour, the office hours were extended on both the front and back end every day.

    The issue, though, is that it doesn't work for all offices, or even everyone in a single office all of the time.

    If you implement a schedule like that, or at least give employees the option to work an alternate schedule, the real savings don't come in the form of utilities savings. Rather, the real savings come in the form of giving employees the flexibility to better balance work & needs outside of work. That should theoretically result in lower turnover in the long run which means fewer recruiting / training / learning curve costs.
    I worked that schedule with the Feds for a while. It was pretty good. i enjoyed having every other friday off.
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    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Re: Utah saves money by going to 4 day work week

    Considering my work week is 37.5 hours anyway instead of 40 hours, I'd love to chop it up into only four days rather than five. I absolutely loathe working on Fridays.
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    My clutch is broken RichRed's Avatar
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    Re: Utah saves money by going to 4 day work week

    Considering I've had jobs where I worked 60-plus hour weeks, a 4/10 schedule would be a cake walk - and I would love having Fridays off.
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  16. #15
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Utah saves money by going to 4 day work week

    I don't know if I'd like doing 4/10.
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