17,000 Utah state employees have been working four-day weeks since last August. Non-critical government and agency staff have worked ten-hour days Monday-Thursday and then taken three-day weekends. Some of the first findings from the experiment are in:
– Nine months in, the state had saved $1.8 million on energy and cleaning bills (the savings are likely to be even higher over the summer as the air conditioning isn’t needed on Fridays).
– 82% of state employees say they prefer the hours.
– Employees also report feeling healthier, showing “decreased health complaints, less stress and [taking] fewer sick days”.
– Significant environmental benefits include energy savings from the buildings being closed, fewer emissions from employee commutes and congestion relief because of fewer people traveling in rush-hour all week.
– Users of government services have access outside the standard 9-5 times. They can no longer go on Friday, but they can go early or late any other day of the working week.
– And an unexpected (albeit largely anecdotal) benefit: many state employees are using some of their time on Fridays to volunteer.
We’ve debated this before, but I have to admit I’m won over by these findings. So if you call our customer service line on a Friday and get no answer, you’ll know what’s happened…