Thursday, June 5, 2008

Welcome to the Weekend!

No I'm not a day ahead in my posting. I do know that it's Thursday. But for an increasing number of workers Thursday is the new Friday as more employers are switching to 4-day work weeks to save energy--not just in commuter gas, but in building energy also.

Friday at the 4-Day Office

photo by Matthew Armstrong

Many government offices are shifting to the new schedule.

On New York's Long Island, Suffolk County legislator Wayne Horsley has proposed employees have the option of working four 10-hour shifts, rather than five eight-hour shifts, saying it would save 461 barrels of oil in a 120-day pilot project. (Yahoo News)

Even schools have gotten into it.

The school district in Marietta, Georgia, a city north of Atlanta, institutes a four-day week during June and July when schools are out and it is mostly administrative staff who are working, saving on air conditioning and water in addition to commuting costs for employees, said Thomas Algarin, director of communications at Marietta City Schools. (Yahoo News)

This article lists 16 reasons that the 4 day week is a good idea. Geek that I am I love the math example:

133,000,000 workers X 80% who drive alone = 106,400,000 single driver commuter cars each day.

106,400,000 X 32 miles round trip = 3,404,800,000 miles driven to work each day

3,404,800,000 / 21 mpg (average fuel efficiency) = 162,133,333 gallons of gasoline each day

Each barrel of crude oil produces, on average, 19.5 gallons of gas. (It is important to note that other products like kerosene and asphalt are produced from that same barrel.)

162,133,333 / 19.5 = 8,314,530 barrels of oil each day.

I also appreciate that the author points out the social advantages of the 4-day week since I personally believe that society will become stronger and healthier as a result of current economic crises.

But there's always another point of view.

Here are a couple of responses to the issue on Rueter's Blog

4-day work week will not change anything. On the fifth day, the people who have the day off will spend it driving around to do their chores and leisure activities, so they may end up driving more than their commute is.The fact is, $4 gas is still cheap.Just look around, traffic everywhere. For instance, our neighbors work for the same company in the same location, yet they still drive individual cars to get there and back. And look how many people still drive several miles to the 7-11 store just to buy a pack of cigarettes.

As a single mom, I told my boss no to this option. Ten hour days make it way too much. I do have the flexibility to telecommute one day per week so that makes life and gas expenses much, much better.

And another to the Cafferty File:

I doubt it Jack. I am not sure how much of a problem the commute to work is. For me it’s the after hours driving and the weekend driving that gets me. Taking kids to sports activities, piano lessons, dance lessons, as well as frequent stops at Wal-mart are what get me. Usually when I get to work, I am there from 8 a.m. to 4:30 pm and my car does not move.

Come on Jack, think about it. We turn friday into a holiday and what do you think is going to happen? Think about the three day weekends we have now, car poolers take their families on the road and do something. In other words the amount of gas used would tripple for the day off, in my opinion. People would rethink buying a cottage because they could use it more, how far do people drive to their cottages in your area.

So, what do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I love the math too! Great entry