Not sure whether you would consider this a dream come true or not, depending on the hit your bank will take, but Utah has become the first US state to make it mandatory to take a three day weekend. Their guise is for environmental friendliness, but I think we can all see through that.
Governor Jon Huntsman, a first-term Republican, has introduced the change, which will affect the majority of state employees, in an attempt to reduce the state’s carbon footprint, increase energy efficiency, improve customer service and provide workers more flexibility. “The reaction (from the public) has been very much a willingness to give this a go,” he says.
The four day work week is not as uncommon as I first thought, with forms of it popping up all across the US. The USA Today article notes that “The four-day work week is fairly common among city and county governments…” and it continues:
Jacqueline Byers, director of research at the National Association of Counties, says the four-day work week is gaining in popularity among county governments. Marion County, Fla., has a mandatory four-day work week for employees; Oconee County, S.C., and Walworth County, Wis., have it for road work crews, while Will County, Ill., has it for the auditor’s office. Oakland County, Mich., is seeking volunteers for a four-day work week, and Miami-Dade County, Fla., and Suffolk County, N.Y., are moving toward it, she says
It is a rather drastic measure, cutting an entire day out of a work week, but one that is sure to make a big impact. While in the months to come – the new system is set to go into effect on August 4 – I’m sure we’ll see statistics explaining what the cutback has done specifically for the environment, but there is more. Such a measure, already seen to be working throughout smaller counties and cities, is another example of how local and individual changes are having large impacts.
There will obviously be some immediate negative impacts. “One thing that has to be changed is the level of expectation from taxpayers, because they’ve always wanted five-day access,” Byers says. “They have to adjust to offices that are open longer on weekdays, but closed on Fridays.”
In addition, longer work days will create problems for those dealing with public transport and childcare, but the Utah government is looking to have these issues ironed out before the August 4th start date.
In fact, Rex Facer, an assistant professor at Brigham Young University whose research team is studying the four-day work week concept, believes that such a change will have impacts on the work-life balance as well. “More and more young workers are entering the work force,” Facer says. “They’re looking for ways to enhance their work-life balance. Alternative work schedules offer more of this work-life balance than do traditional work schedules.”
So all in all, I can hardly see where this can go wrong!