I am Enormously Skeptical About This

I have absolutely no confidence that we will get 25% more work from our city employees on Mon-Thur to make up for a Friday day off.

Thursday could become the new Friday for thousands of Phoenix city employees in an effort to save money and keep workers happy.

Phoenix officials are considering mandatory Fridays off for administrative employees but would exempt those who support functions that can't be shut down such as water-plant employees, aviation workers and public-safety staff.

If approved, Phoenix would become the largest municipality in the state and the country on a mandatory four-day schedule, where employees typically work 10-hour days with Fridays off.

I am not sure we currently get 8 hours of work from many of them, and having been programmed for years or decades to an 8 hour day, I don't see them changing their behavior.  My alternate plan would be to cut everyone back to 32 hours a week, cut their pay by 20%, AND save energy on Friday.  By "alternate" I mean alternate to my base case of sending them all home permanently and waiting to see how long it takes for anyone to notice.


  1. Foxfier:

    My first military duty station had a version of this-- called "flex Fridays." Every other Friday off-- saved a LOT of money on the contractors and office power consumption.

    I sort of wonder if they've eliminated overtime and other cost-cutting measures first, though... I think if they were serious, they'd have the customer support folks added to the water plant folks, maybe have their pay rolls made public (without identifying information) to look for ways to cut....

  2. Foxfier:

    (I forgot to mention-- yes, we got more stuff done, since we basically worked from just after breakfast to just before dinner. Bonus, morning meetings, the supervisor coming by every afternoon to talk about whatever, all the other "half hour each day" stuff takes a smaller amount of total time)

  3. John O.:

    That would be a no-no, cutting hours and cutting wages means less money to the government employee union that would get spent on electing their best friends.

    -- John O.

  4. Noumenon:

    I love my 12-hour shifts -- more days off, fewer days I have to bike to work, less of that beginning-of-the-day catching-up time.

  5. EarlW:

    Our city workers are notorious for doing nothing.

    "it took 90 hours for 10 workers to fill 10 potholes."


  6. ScottE:

    In my brief stint as a government contractor down at Ft. Huachuca they tend to leave by noon on Friday anyway.

    For the 5% who played solitaire most of the day (they don't even hide their screens) it's not much of a loss if they leave early either.

    Then there was the guy who slept on the can in the bathroom, snoring away.

    So I wouldn't be too worried about productivity dropping off.

  7. Highway:

    Even if they did start out working at the same productivity per hour that they do now, it would fairly quickly reduce to the same productivity per *day* that they have now. So you'd end up with the same amount of work they do in 8 hours now filling 10 hours. This happens in even the best of offices that use overtime hours.

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  9. Fred:

    What's orange & sleeps 8 ?

    City of __X X X ______ Public Works Truck.

  10. Leatherneck:

    We've worked 9x9 alternate work schedules for years in the Pentagon. Each of us has a set caseload with each program having a unique set of documents and test events that have to be done on time. So whether the work has to be done during the workday, evenings, weekends or regular days off, it still gets done on time. The bonus is, once or twice a month you may get to actually take your RDO.

  11. richard:


    It means they get a day off every week and still get 100% pay. It is called either 'fraud' or 'a raise'. You choose.

  12. Kirstine Vergara:

    A four-day work week will give employees more time to relax and be with their families, which in turn will make them more productive at work. I'm all for extending the work hours from Monday to Thursday to compensate for Friday. Our company used to have a regular 5-day set-up and the management tried experimenting on giving us another day off. It has been a year and we have not yet gone back to the original set-up. Why? Because it worked for us. Employees became more productive as the deadline is tighter given the extra day off. I believe that extra day off allowed us to maintain a balanced lifestyle. Let me share with you an interesting article on Maintaining a Balanced Lifestyle.

  13. Capt Grandpa:

    We had it for about ten years at the public agency I worked for. How well it works depends on the nature of the job and the effectiveness of the supervision. We ultimately had to go back to a standard schedule because all to often when management needed information, the excuse for not being able to supply it was that the person who had it was off that day and the supervisor did not have a back up source. The public expects you to be open during "normal" business hours and the inability to be responsive during those hours just reinforces the (completely reasonable) perception of governmental inefficiency.

  14. TC:

    "I have absolutely no confidence that we will get 25% more work from our city employees on Mon-Thur to make up for a Friday day off. "

    Utah state can verify your claims with over a full year of demonstrated ineptitude! Not to mention how much those paying the bills have been inconvenienced by such. The state was claiming they could save 3 mill $. But of course the citizens have lost way more just in idling cars in order to get to the office on Thur!

  15. Ron H.:

    Kirstine Vergara said:

    "A four-day work week will give employees more time to relax and be with their families, which in turn will make them more productive at work."

    Wow! I'd love to see your empirical evidence for that.

    See the comment right after yours.

  16. Jim Collins:

    We went to a rotating system. We have five engineers, each one of us takes a specific day of the week off. We save about $20,000 per year in software fees by only maintaing four seats and using network licenses. We also have fewer missed days due to doctor's appointments and personal business, because we have a weekday off. It usually takes me about an hour to get caught up with what I was doing the previous day and then about an hour to make sure that everything is saved and backed up. So far it is working out pretty good.

  17. smurfy:

    "We also have fewer missed days due to doctor’s appointments and personal business, because we have a weekday off" - so the city can reduce their sick leave and vacation accrual rates then, right?

    Of course, if they have any business with the City, they won't be able to get that done on their day off.