Utah, unofficially known as the "Footloose" state, is solidifying a call for more of us to "cut loose" from the traditional five-day work week.
Since last August, state executive branch workers have kicked off their Friday (work) shoes, thanks to former Governor (now Chinese Ambassador) Jon Hunstman's Working 4 Utah initiative.
Now completing its first full year, the country's most expansive four-day workweek program allows close to 70% of the state's 24,000 executive branch workers to put in 10-hour work days Monday through Thursday. The offices are closed on Friday.
The good news for state bean counters in Utah (in addition to the fact that Jell-O is still their official state snack food): Keeping municipal offices closed for three-day weekends is saving a jiggle-load of money.
According to an internal study, reported on by the Associated Press, state office energy use is down 13% and custodial contracts have been cut by $203,000.
Additional savings are still being calculated, but according to a recent blog post by Ben Jervey for the Webzine Good.is, more conservation is taking place: Utah's carbon footprint has been reduced by 6,000 tons. Jervey also reports that the state budget has saved $1.8 million and around $5 million in commute costs have also been trimmed. (Not to mention savings in childcare and the stimulus of an extra shopping day during the week.)
In addition to the cash money savings Jervey also cites Brigham Young University research which includes surveys of the workers on their new four-day work week. According to one researcher, quoted in Scientific American, "Utah employees actually show decreased health complaints, less stress and fewer sick days." All of which help any employer's bottom line.
Less commute time? Less stress? The same salary? No wonder states like Texas and Florida are reportedly getting on the four-day-a-week bandwagon.
What do you think: Would you prefer working a four-day work week?