Tuesday, September 29, 2009

4 x 10 Workweek Does Wonders for Utah

I quote from TIME magazine:
  • Utah state was the first in the U.S. to mandate a four-day workweek for most state employees, closing offices on Fridays in an effort to reduce energy costs.
  • Not a furlough. Salaries were not cut; nor was the total amount of time employees work... (5 x 8 = 4 x 10)
  • The compressed workweek resulted in a 13% reduction in energy use.
  • Employees saved as much as $6 million in gasoline costs.
  • Fears that working 10-hour days would lead to burnout turned out to be unfounded — workers took fewer sick days and reported exercising more on Fridays.
  • 82% of state workers say they want to keep the new schedule.
  • Unexpected benefits for people who aren't state employees: Utah's government offices have become accessible to people who in the past had to miss work to get there in time. With the new 4-10 policy, lines at the department of motor vehicles actually got shorter.
SOURCE: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1919162,00.html

Given Hawaii's oversized government and the underutilized potential of telecommuting for some of Hawaii's private sector (i.e., telecommute for one day per week for a large portion of white collar labor), traffic congestion can be drastically reduced with compressed work week and telecommuting while realizing huge energy savings. Tight budgets and high energy prices (or fossil fuel dependency reductions) lead smart governments to effective solutions.

But that's Utah. In Hawaii real solutions are brushed off. Here most politicians are prepared to sink $5.3 billion on a useless rail system instead.