A city in Texas is making a significant change to its typical week at the office. In a pilot project, select employees of the city will move to a four-day workweek for the next four months, joining a growing global movement aimed at restoring the link between time spent at work and overall productivity. Here’s what you need to know.
According to WFAA News, the City of Keller is entering a trial period pilot project for some city employees that will move them into a 4-day workweek. As a result, employees who work at the Keller Town Hall, including the records department of the Keller Police Department and municipal services, will shift their daily schedule beginning May 28.
The pilot project is set to run for four months, and the city is hoping it will see improvement in many areas for its employees. “We’re competing for employees just like everyone else against both the public and private sector, and as an organization, we need to continue to adapt to the needs of the modern workforce,” City Manager Mark Hafner wrote in a tweet.
During the trial, officials will be looking at staff productivity and retention and checking in with employees to see how they feel about the shift in schedule. KXAN News reports the new plan will have offices open between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Monday through Thursday. Everyone will have Fridays off.
Officials said city employees are already in a four-day workweek schedule, including IT, community facilities, and public safety. And overall, it’s been a positive experience for them. The announcement stated the pilot’s goal is to improve work-life balance while things like fuel and utility savings are a good side bonus for employees.
“Council is committed to Keller remaining Texas’s Most Family-Friendly City, and one of our strategic goals is to ‘Put People First’ — which includes creating a workplace culture at Town Hall that not only retains dedicated city employees but also sets Keller apart in candidate recruitment,” Mayor Armin Mizani said. “Unlike some cities throughout the nation that are responding to industry challenges with unsustainable salary increases that burden taxpayers, Keller’s pilot program is financially responsible, sustainable, and customer-service driven.”
The four-day workweek has been piloted by international governments and major companies worldwide, from Unilever to the country of Iceland. Studies have analyzed Iceland’s shorter workweek after running two large trials of reduced working hours without a reduction in pay between 2015-2019. The studies saw overwhelming positives for workers and their employers, including an increase in well-being, less stress, less burnout, and better employee retention. Some 38 companies across North America are running a pilot program of the 4-day-workweek right now, and California Representative Mark Takano introduced a bill to the House of Representatives that would make the 32-hour week a standard one.
One thing is very clear – parents in the United States want to have a better balance between work and home. A recent survey of 4,000 workers in the U.S. showed that 83 percent want a four-day workweek and prefer remote work options. These shorter workweeks aren’t only a benefit to employees, but it’s better overall as workers are happier, have no, or positive effect on their overall productivity, and they get to spend more time with their families.