Future / Innovation / Trends

State experiments with the four-day work week

Utah became the first U.S. state to put its government workforce on a four-day work week, and some other states may follow. The “Working 4 Utah” initiative — a response to soaring energy costs and tight budgets — will begin in August.

Government service hours will be extended to 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and offices will be closed Fridays (except for essential public services).

Utah expects to cut electrical and utility costs (13.5 hours on Fridays) and will monitor the energy savings. For employees, it may mean they can get household chores done on Fridays, according to Workforce Management (14 July 2008). But day care and public transportation services will need to accommodate the extended hours (10-hour work days) Monday through Thursday.

State officials in Minnesota, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Arkansas are examining the feasibility of a four-day schedule, Workforce Management reported. Also, Colorado is mulling it over. Various county governments and towns are, too.

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