Thursday, July 30, 2009
At least in Utah (via Derek Thompson at The Atlantic):
Forget everybody working for the weekend. In Utah all government employees have shifted to a four-day workweek, and the state is calling it a win-win-win for its budget, workers and clean air. Utah has saved $1.8 million in electrical bills in the last year, the air has been spared an estimated 6,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, and workers are thrilled. Eighty-two percent of them say they prefer the new arrangement, which still enforces the 40-hour week by requiring 10 or more hours a day Monday - Friday. Is it time to ask your boss if you can take off Friday .... forever?
Not sure this will start a craze, but the fewer day workweek clearly has some benefits, as illustrated above. Moreover, Thompson points out:
There's another way to realize those kind of savings: Asking workers to telecommute. As I've written before, the benefits of telecommuting are pretty diverse. From the employer side, it can save office space, utilities and overhead for employee services. From the employee side, it allows parents to spend more time with their family and cut down on increasingly expensive travel given the rising price of gas and public transportation. And of course, fewer cars on the road means less traffic, which means quicker travels (and less gas) for other Friday commuters.
But, on the other hand, any increase in telecommuting will lead to less face time in the office. Will that have deletrious effects on the culture of the workplace and make employees feel that they are not part of a team, part of something more than just what they contribute to the enterprise?
Am I overstating my concerns here?