Most of us are working more hours than ever—at least those of us “still lucky enough to have jobs,” said Bryan Walsh in Time, but 17,000 Utah state employees are trying an “unusual experiment”: a four-day, 40-hour workweek. The 4-10 workweek was enacted a year ago to cut energy use—and it has, by 13 percent—and it’s been so successful that several cities nationwide and General Motors are trying it out. Maybe Utah is giving us a new acronym: “TGIT (Thank God it’s Thursday).”
These “Thank God it’s Thursday experiments” do seem like a win-win, said Colin Campbell in Canada’s Maclean’s, and year-round long weekends are a dream-come-true for “vacation-starved North American workers.” But there are some potential downsides: The 4-10 week can be hard on families with two working parents, there are staffing issues if it’s optional, and no government services on Fridays if it’s mandatory.
At least in El Paso, Texas, this summer's 4-10 trial generated "few complaints” from either employees or city customers, said the El Paso Times in an editorial. Nor did “Where’s Mom? It’s dinner time!” pitfalls “seem to be a major issue.” In fact, city employees liked it and El Paso saved some $100,000 in City Hall alone. “Let’s do it again next summer.”
Maybe the 4-10 workweek should be applied on a case-by-case basis, said Jennifer Gollan in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Several South Florida cities tried it, with “mixed results”—the Broward County School District saved $1 million in two months, but the city of Miramar didn’t find its small savings worth the hassle. The only constant seems to be job satisfaction: Whether or not the city liked the 4-10 schedule, “all say their employees love it.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What is driving the increasingly weird behavior of the polar jet stream?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- Christians have no moral rationale for spanking their children
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 10 things you need to know today: September 23, 2014
- 4 simple steaks you can cook in a pan
- Should you hope to die at 75? Absolutely not.
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
Subscribe to the Week