Change I can believe in
Ok in theory it all sounds great - a person needs to work for a living, a person needs to get a good night’s sleep after working hard all day and a person needs some personal and family time. So break up 24 hours into three equal parts - 8 hours each. You work for 8 hours, sleep for 8 hours and you have 8 hours of personal time at least that might have been true in 1938, the year the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed, standardizing the eight hour work day and the 40 hour work week.
In 1938 we did not have the traffic congestions of today, in 1938 we did not spend hours getting to work and back. On a normal day a people spend anywhere between 1 to 2 hours getting to work and about the same time getting back home. If it takes you 2 hours one way, that is 4 hours a day getting to work and back. This will have to come from either sleep time or play time! Or does it?
According to 2005 survey by America Online and Salary.com, the average worker admits to frittering away 2.09 hours per day, not counting lunch. That’s far more time than employers expect. Over the course of a year (and even after accounting for time employers expect to be wasted), that adds up to $759 billion on salaries for which companies receive no apparent benefit.
The research, which was conducted through the AOL Find a Job site on AOL.com®, the AOL® service and Salary.com’s Salary Wizard, involved more than 10,044 respondents (employees) who indicated that the number one way they fritter away time at work is personal Internet use (e.g., email, IM, online polls, interactive games, message boards, chat rooms, etc.). Personal Internet use was cited by 44.7% of respondents as their primary time-wasting activity at work. Socializing with co-workers was the second most popular form of wasting time at work (23.4% of respondents). Conducting personal business, “spacing out,” running errands, and making personal phone calls were other popular time-wasting activities in the workplace.
Top Time-Wasting Activities
1. Surfing Internet (personal use) 44.7%
2. Socializing with co-workers 23.4%
3. Conducting personal business 6.8%
4. Spacing out 3.9%
5. Running errands off-premises 3.1%
Top Excuses for Time-Wasting
1. Don’t have enough work to do 33.2%
2. Underpaid for amount of work I do 23.4%
3. Co-workers distract me 14.7%
4. Not enough evening or weekend time 12.0%
5. Other 16.7%
Here is something else we did not have in 1938 - cell phones and internet. Even the Federal Government has a work from home program called Telework (http://www.telework.gov/). Telecommuting, cell phones and the Internet are just some of the other tools that can offer more flexibility to the outdated idea that we should all be at the office from 8 to 5 on Monday through Friday.
According to the United States Census Bureau and the Department of Transportation, over eighty million cars and light trucks are used for daily commuting on American roads. The jump in gas prices has generated a renewed interest in 4 day week and many government departments and schools are experimenting with 4 day week with 10 hour shifts per day. Florida International University announced that it is switching to 4 day weeks this summer. The City of Hollywood, Florida is thinking about it. The state of West Virginia is considering a four-day week for government workers there.
Marion County Florida recently switched to a four-day work week for county workers. They expect to save $250,000 in energy costs this year alone. A handful of cities in Nevada, California and Arizona are experimenting with the idea.
The state government in Ohio however is bucking the national trend and canceling an 8-year-old policy that allowed a compressed workweek. According to the Ohio Department of Administrative Services there were just too many vacant seats on busses on Fridays.
But we do not have to worry about losing money on public transportation in cash strapped Miami do we? In an article in Miami Herald titled “Some Metrobus routes motivated by politics not need” LARRY LEBOWITZ showed us how Miami Dade Transit has operated bus routes that sometimes carried just 1 passenger in 10 days (would have been cheaper to just buy the guy a car)
Change to 4 days a week in America is a change I can believe in