Imagine a Friday drive down to a golf course in a neighboring state, followed by a relaxing Saturday of hiking and fishing, then spending Sunday at home relaxing with the family. While an extra day off may not seem like much, who wouldn’t enjoy perpetual 3-day weekends?
Thanks to rising fuel prices, that’s exactly what a new State bill in Utah proposes for thousands of government employees. In an effort to curb air pollution and reduce state and commuter energy costs, legislators are seriously pushing for a 4-day, 10-hour work, Monday-to-Thursday work week in place of the traditional 5-day week.
If the bill is passed, public schools in Utah will transition to 149-day school years instead of 172, with class time extended by 65 minutes each day. But don’t worry about vital public services because the State police, prison guards, courts, public universities, and even state-run liquor stores will still hold regular hours on Fridays. Likewise, hazardous spill disposal and medicaid phone line services will not be affected by the changes.
The idea of a four day work week isn’t new. Ever since the gas crisis of the 1970’s the idea has been floating around to conserve fuel costs, but only recently have people begun to get excited about the possible switch-up now that gasoline prices are seriously pinching travel and commuter budgets.
For example, Suffolk County and New York are already considering the plan, so it looks as though this could be the start of a much broader trend. (cont.)
Are you excited about the possibility of a 4-day work week? Would you like the idea to catch on in your neck of the woods? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons:
- Increased leisure time
- Reduced commuter expenses
- Environmental benefits: serious reduction in CO2 and ozone emissions
- Longer family outings
- Reduction in our national dependency on oil: 10-20% to even 40% according to Aaron Newton of the Oil Drum
- Promotion of telecommuting: 3-day weekends will increase the likelihood that employees will need to check in from home and develop expertise in distance labor, thus gradually getting people used to working form home
- Fewer school days result in more kids on the streets in certain areas
- Financial markets like NYSE and service businesses like restaurants depend on an extra day
- Train and bus schedules will have to be adjusted
- Signs and laws everywhere would need to be adjusted
- Promotion of telecommuting: some believe this to be dehumanizing
Any others that you can think of?