They’re doing it in Utah. County governments in Marion County, FL, make it mandatory, and Oakland County, MI, is seeking volunteers.
What is it? The four-day work week. Some employers are now offering to let their workers spend their 40-hour week working four, 10-hour days, rather than the traditional five days a week, in order to spend less money on gas and associated costs each day.
With a recent report predicting that gas prices
could increase to $7 a gallon in the United States within two years, the
four-day work week may be the answer that employees are searching for. There’s
even an advocacy website for the four-day work
ABC News reports that the average commute is 30 miles round trip; with around 17 miles to the gallon, and gas prices at $4.10, employees can save about $7.24 a day, which adds up to $377.52 a year. In addition, a four-day work week means no day care on the fifth day, a heavy expense for many working parents.
And many companies across the country are following suit. A recent survey by Challenger, Gray & Christmas of 100 medium and large businesses found that 57% now offer some sort of employee relief to help them cope with the tough economic circumstances.
I’m not so sure that a shortened work week would work for everyone, though – it wouldn’t be feasible in many cases, such as employees working on a production line or where companies run three shifts per day. Also, what if an employee needs to be contacted on their day off? How will traditional 9 to 5ers and 4-day work-weekers touch base with such different schedules? Perhaps, in some cases, working from home one day a week might be a better solution – although that won’t eliminate the need for day care in some cases.