Chamber to try 4-day work week to ease commute costs

Along with pushing consumers’ budgets to their breaking point, gasoline at $4 per gallon next week w

Along with pushing consumers’ budgets to their breaking point, gasoline at $4 per gallon next week will break the traditional five-day work week at the Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce.

The Colonie-based chamber announced Wednesday that it is rolling out a pilot four-day work week in a bid to help employees reduce the cost of commuting to work.

Starting Monday, the business group, with more than 2,800 members, will allow its 20 employees to work four 10-hour days. They can skip a day in the office on either Friday or Monday.

Three-quarters of the chamber’s work force opted to ditch their Monday-to-Friday routine. They join the growing ranks of U.S. workers who are embracing four-day work weeks. A spokesman for the Business Council of New York State said the Albany trade organization is not aware of any other Capital Region businesses offering employees alternative work schedules in response to rising gas prices.

This summer, Utah will become the first state to require most state employees to work only four days each week. Several municipalities and school districts across the nation have also adopted four-day work weeks.

“Our hope is this will be an example for members,” said chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Lyn Taylor.

Taylor said the chamber does not expect to realize many savings from the work week switch because it will continue to operate Monday through Friday. But she estimated that employees with long commutes could save up to $700 annually by working one fewer day each week.

The chamber will test the four-day work week in July and August. Taylor said the move might increase the productivity of employees, who might feel compelled to get more work done in fewer days.

A recently released Brigham Young University study found that 60 percent of city workers in Spanish Fork City, Utah, who work four 10-hour days weekly reported higher productivity in their new shortened work week.

The study by the Provo, Utah, university found that those workers with alternative schedules also reported lower levels of at-home conflicts and higher job satisfaction. Spanish Fork City in 2004 started offering municipal employees alternative work schedules.

Categories: Business

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