Feature

Business columns: The case for a four-day workweek

A year after the Utah state government shifted to a four-day workweek as a money-saving measure, the state&rsquo;s budget, environment, and workers are all the better for it, said Bradford Plumer in<strong> </strong><em>The

Bradford PlumerThe New Republic

Maybe we should all borrow a page from Utah and take Fridays off, said Bradford Plumer. A year after the Utah state government shifted to a four-day workweek as a money-saving measure, the state’s budget, environment, and workers are all the better for it. With state offices dark and fewer commuters on the road on Fridays, the state has slashed $1.8 million from its annual electricity bill and prevented 12,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from escaping into the atmosphere. Just as important, “workers seem to love the new arrangement”; some 80 percent recently told a pollster that they prefer to log their 40 hours in four days rather than five. And contrary to officials’ earlier fears, Utah employees don’t find their 10-hour days exhausting. “Instead, they enjoy less stress, spend more time with their families, require fewer sick days, and exercise more.”

Imagine extending these benefits over the entire U.S. population. If the country as a whole switched to a four-day workweek, we could lower our oil imports by 5 percent to 10 percent annually, reduce traffic fatalities, and cut road-maintenance costs. Throw in a permanent three-day weekend, and “what’s not to love?”

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