"The notion that the majority of the workforce should work the eight hour work day and the 40 hour work week is based on nothing more than an idea put forth but the Federal government almost 70 years ago." (Digg)
An increasingly popular idea to save businesses, the government, and employees money. The first state in the U.S. to try the new shift, Utah, is officially changing to a four day work week (four-10 hour days) on August 1, 2008. The change will affect 17,000 state workers -- about 20 percent of the total state workforce, as well as 1,000 buildings statewide. Just calculating heating and air conditioning for the buildings, millions of dollars are being saved. Not even to mention over $4.00 a gallon in gas for commuters.
The idea is not new, however, as many cities and counties have long ago adopted the four day work week. Marion County, Fla., Oconee County, S.C., and Walworth County, Wis., all have some sort of four day work week plan. Even some privately owned companies give the option to their employees.
"Working 4 Utah"
Governor Jon Huntsman: "We have certain short-term realities and certain long-term realities as a state government — government. And, as a manager, you have to look at these things pragmatically. You want to be proactive, as opposed to reactive, as government typically is.
And, listen, $4 dollar gas prices are a killer for people these days. Not only that, but we have a very ambitious energy efficiency goal as a state, which is to say 20 percent reduction by 2015. And, then, beyond that, how do you expand customer service in ways that allows the taxpayer to fully understand that we're trying to meet their needs?
And, finally, what can you do for good public employees who are working hard and doing everything they can, paying high gas prices, and, in some cases, commuting from long distances? So, all of these areas were very elegantly covered by this four-day, 10-hour-per-day workweek." (Fox News interview, July 03, 2008)
The Internet provides 800 services that would normally be provided by a government employee. This includes even renewing a driver's license. So people won't miss going into the DMV and standing in line for over an hour, with Friday no longer a work day. The idea of a four day work week is not new, in fact, another noder even posted about the idea in 2000.
Where did the 40 hour work week come from?
"A 40 hour work week was seen as an upgrade in the lives of many of U.S. citizens. 8 is a nice round number; one third of each 24 hour day. In theory it leaves 8 hours for sleep and 8 hours for other activities..." (Groovy Green) Over 70 years ago the Federal Government picked the 40 hour work week, hopefully helping over worked workers. What in principle worked then, has increasingly lost its twinkle. Communities didn't have "commutes" 70 years ago. So in reality, adding another hour in drive time makes it 45 hours dedicated to work. Possibly even more. If there were 106,400,000 single driver commuter cars each day at 32 miles round trip (small number, really), then we would have 3,404,800,000 miles driven to work each day in the US. Cut one day out of the work week and instantly billions of dollars could be saved. Short and long term.
Won't people just drive more on their three day weekend?
Labor day weekend says yes. But consider this. Instead of driving by yourself to work, you're instead going out with the family. Most households have two workers, now they're at least carpooling. And I don't think I'm far off the mark when I say most people like to stay in on their days off just to relax.
Possible reasons it would save money
- Road and vehicle maintenance
- Work put onto Internet instead
- Operation costs
Whether the switch is for monetary reasons, or not, it should affect the environment. "The Department of Administrative Services says closing nearly 1,000 buildings statewide on Fridays could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3,000 metric tons." (KSL)