Last August, Utah moved its many of the state’s government offices to a four-day work week. Apart from a nice long three-day weekend every week for many of the state’s workers, other benefits include the 13 percent savings attributed to reduced energy use. Monetarily, that amounts to $1.8 million that taxpayers saved thanks to computers, office lighting and HVAC systems that remain off off an extra day every week.
The state is still working to maximize the savings, but first it has to unravel a knot of complications, like offices where the electricity is factored into the rent. There’s also scheduling difficulties to contend with, especially for early birds and those that burn the midnight oil.
Even though employees are still working 40 hours a week, Harrington says energy savings are being realized under the new schedule because buildings were previously being used at all hours of the day to accommodate wildly divergent work schedules and personal preferences. Now, anyone who comes into work early, stays late or comes in over the weekend does so without being guaranteed the heat or air conditioning will be on.
Unsurprisingly, a solid majority of state employees want to stay on a 4-day, 10-hour a day schedule.
A solid 82 percent of the state employees working the schedule want to keep it. They’re feeling healthier, volunteering in greater numbers, and exercising more. Utah estimates that, all told, their experiment saved at least 12,000 metric tons of CO2 from being created — the same as taking 2,300 cars off the road for a year.
A healthier workforce too! What’s not to like?
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