Apparently, it worked pretty well for everyone in Utah when 18,000 of the state’s 25,000 workforce were put on a four-day week. Professor Rex Facer, from Brigham Young University, an adviser on the initiative also analysed the impact:
Facer looked into how the public and state employees responded. Eight out of 10 employees liked the four-day week and wanted it to continue. Nearly two-thirds said it made them more productive and many said it reduced conflict at home and work. Only 3% said it made childcare harder. Workplaces across the state reported higher staff morale and lower absenteeism. There were other surprises, too. One in three among the public thought the new arrangements actually improved access to services. “The programme achieved exactly what was intended,” Facer says. “The public and businesses adapted to it. The extended opening times on the four days when employees worked were actually preferred by many. It was more convenient for them being able to contact public bodies before and after conventional working hours.”
In our short term profit-driven society, milking workers for every hour delivers more results in a shorter space of time. But externalities are never calculated; stress, job dissatisfaction, getting sick, impact on the environment due to travel and keeping offices open, lack of family time – all of which cost money in the long term.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.