Morgantown, a city of about 30,000 in West Virginia, will begin a year-long trial of the 4-day week starting July 6, right after the national holiday. The city’s press release says:
Employees participating in the pilot program will work four 10-hour days each week from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. City administrative offices will be closed on Fridays.
”Over the last two months, two things have become increasingly apparent,” said Interim City Manager Emily Muzzarelli. “The first is just how important it is to spend time with family. The second is that there is always room for improvement in how we provide services to our customers. By transitioning our schedules during this pilot program, we can provide extended hours to residents, businesses, and contractors while allowing our employees to spend more time at home with their families.”…
The idea of a focused workweek was brought forward by city staff as a way to save costs, improve employee productivity and help create a better work/life balance in employee’s lives. There is also no cost to the city to conduct the pilot program.
Citizens will also benefit from the focused workweek through improved customer service. City buildings will be open longer for public access Monday through Thursday. This means that citizens will be able to conduct business with the city outside of regular work hours.
As I explain in my book SHORTER, there are a number of smaller towns and counties that have implemented 4-day weeks since 2008. Most of the time this is in response to budget cuts, or it’s a means to boost retention and morale of public sector workers; and in a couple places I’ve visited– towns in Maine that are basically a bend in the road, for example– you get the sense that public business really could be handled in a couple mornings of hard graft. At the other end of the spectrum, the Utah state government operated on a 4-day week during Jon Huntsman’s administration in the late 2000s.