Here’s a bright idea! To deliver additional budget savings, the City of Oakland might consider Monday-Thursday office hours. Stay with us, because the idea’s not that original or far-fetched.
We just read about Utah state government workers, who clock ten-hour days and get paid for their 40-hour weeks. The difference is their offices are shuttered and they don’t work on Fridays. In return, the state saves money.
How has this experiment worked for Utah? Swimmingly, but not for the reasons that were originally envisioned about energy savings. Instead, the major benefit has been overtime pay! Apparently when workers complete their ten hours shifts, they feel like going home.
All told, Utah has saved $500k in energy bills, $200k in janitorial services and a whopping $4.1 million in overtime payments. We don’t know the overall percentage of the state budget saved, but this still sounds like a decent option to us. Other states are trying this out as well, such as Washington and Hawaii.
The City of Oakland has already mandated one day/month closures, and that’s one way to save bucks. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine having Friday closures beyond the current schedule. Also the extended hours on other weekdays would likely be viewed as a convenience and welcomed by Oaklanders.
We know that some city jobs already follow longer-shift patterns, and that police, fire and other emergency services must be available after-hours. But this four-day week would be different and more widespread. The hours for many city services are truly fungible.
So let’s continue to get creative with our budgeting efforts. We’re not sure if this scheduling option was ever tossed around during earlier discussions, but think it’s worthy of City Council time and consideration.