Shorter work week holds promise
The state is embarking on a test of a four-day work week with one department.
THE state's experiment with a four-day work week won't reduce traffic noticeably come Friday, the first day that 111 employees will stay home instead of driving into town to their Beretania Street offices.
But through the three-month project, workers for the Department of Human Resources Development will be helping the administration evaluate whether the shortened schedule can be expanded appropriately to other agencies.
If successful, a condensed work week could cut the state's electricity costs and contribute to quality of life for the 17,880 executive branch employees without trimming services to the public.
The pilot program will have workers on the job Monday through Thursday from 7:15 a.m. to 6 p.m., a 10-hour day with 45 minutes for breaks. Their offices will be closed on Fridays, but by being open later than most businesses, people can still get the help they need.
The program will test whether workers can remain productive over a 10-hour day and identify problems they could encounter professionally and personally. The state can gauge savings from turning off air conditioners at 4:30 p.m. daily and all day on Fridays and from lessening the need for cleaning and maintenance.
Because the department is small, deals mainly with other state personnel offices and has no unionized workers, it seems logical it would be chosen for the exploratory trial. Since the department is in charge of hiring, it can also ascertain if a shorter work week is attractive to job seekers.
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