7/2/08

Surge of gov't employers adopting 4-day week

Work-cut will result from future bargaining

So maybe there’s a silver lining to skyrocketing gas prices after all. Seeking to reduce state energy costs, Utah Governor Jon Huntsman announced Thursday that the state would close administrative offices on Fridays, while extending hours on Monday through Thursday.

The idea is to work longer during the week and reduce the amount of trips to and from work.

Following suit just in time for soaring summer gas prices is New York’s Suffolk County Legislator Wayne Horsley. His plan: Let employees work four 10-hour days from July 1 through Sept. 30.

And with no gas respite in sight, the concept is spreading to states such as California, West Virginia, Minnesota and Georgia.

But a 4-day work-week could create change that goes far beyond saving money and energy. According to an article in human resources journal Workforce Management, it could lead to “a revolution in the office that will result in productivity being the central value of work, rather the number of hours logged by employees.”

And just in case the short workweek just doesn’t cut it for cost-savings, government officials could urge their cities fire-fighters to follow those in Vandalia, Ohio, and trade in their gas-guzzling red fire trucks to ride bicycles from site to site.

(blogs.wsj.com)

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