Monday, June 2, 2008

Four-Day Work Week Gains Popularity

Why should businesses care about the impact on employees of higher gasoline prices? A recent survey found that "some 44 percent of respondents have changed the way they commute — from sharing a ride to driving a more fuel-efficient car. Others are working from home or looking for a closer job in order to reduce costs."

In response to high gas prices, businesses are rethinking the standard 5-day work week. The city of Birmingham AL plans to move all city employees to a 4-day work week effective July 1. City employees are expected to collectively save approximately $750,000 a year in gasoline purchases. The idea is also being implemented in governments and at companies in Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, New York, Florida, Washington, Texas, Arkansas, and numerous other locations. Some companies are providing public transportation passes as part of a "green benefits" package.

What about 4-day work weeks for businesses that provide transportation services, such as schools? Several schools have already moved to 4-day weeks to save on transportation expenses. The MACCRAY School District in western Minnesota expects to save $65,000 when they implement their new 4-day week in September. In Leavenworth County KS, the county expects to save approximately $11,000 this summer when road work crews move to a 4-day week.

For the business that is seeking to become more sustainable, a 4-day work week can reduce financial pressure on employees, can reduce carbon emissions of your workforce, and (for the business that provides transportation) can reduce expenses.

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