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The state is letting its employees have a break on Fridays. But is their four-day workweek going according to plan?
Knowing that they have a three-day weekend every week, do state workers just wake up laughing every Friday? Not quite, but very few employees miss having to go into work that day.
Executive Director of Human Resources Management Jeff Herring said, "It works out well. We've adjusted our schedule to meet the needs we have, but it's nice to spend some good work-life balance time with my family."
Herring says the state didn't look into this plan just to give its employees an extra day off every week.
"Really, [there were] four main things that we were looking at addressing with this initiative," he said.
Herring says the state wanted to reduce energy costs and reduce CO2 emissions by making employees travel less. It also wanted to improve workers' morale, while extending the hours of government offices on the days they are open.
"It has got to be successful in all the different areas. I say, first and foremost, government's got to be accountable to the public, and second, it's got to be flexible with its employees," Herring said.
As far as boosting morale among state employees, the plan seems to be working like a charm.
Utah Governor's Office spokeswoman Lisa Roskelley said, "We get a lot of employees who are really pleased with it. We did an initial survey where almost 80 percent of employees were pleased with this."
Roskelley says the state doesn't have any hard data yet to measure if the goals it set out in the beginning of the program are being met, but she says it looks like productivity is up.
"We've seen the use of leave, both sick leave and annual leave go down each of the pay periods that we've had since the implementation of this," she said.
I asked Roskelley if the governor could make a four-day workweek a state law so we'd all have an extra day off. She said, "I'll let you know. I'll get back to you on that." Then she admitted she won't.
So at first glance, it appears that this pilot program will become a permanent thing, which is good, because if the state had to go back to a five-day workweek, they'd have a lot of ticked-off employees.