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The Four-Day Work Week Works


by Pete Davies

Utah’s experiment shows happier employees and environmental benefits

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…

    This piece originally appeared in The Terra Pass Footprint.

    Image by Mike Judge's fevered brain.

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