BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Should Utah shift to a 4-day workweek? Show hosts divided.

May 3, 2022, 4:00 PM

Utah 4-day workweek...

Photo: Getty Images

SALT LAKE CITY — The pandemic changed the way we work. Employers and employees discovered working from home can be a doable now. Is it time for Utah to look at the 4-day workweek — again?

State workers tried this over a decade ago. Many people loved four 10-hour workweek, but it didn’t quite work out. A new bill coming out of California is trying to implement something similar: a 32-hour, 4-day workweek.

KSL NewsRadio’s Debbie Dujanovic and, guest host, attorney and state Sen. Todd Weiler discussed the possible shift to shorter work hours with Mike Hadley, senior account manager with Nexus IT.

A tech perspective on the 4-day workweek

Hadley said the tech sector is sometimes on the leading edge of workplace innovations, but his company couldn’t feasibly operate on a 32-hour workweek because they support other companies that work five, six, and even, seven days a week.

“It would be difficult. It wouldn’t be impossible, but it would be difficult to figure out how we could do that. But I do think that you’re right; there’s a lean into, in terms of the tech industry with these kinds of topics a lot,” Hadley said.

For work schedule flexibility, he added working from home is always an option.

“My wife is in tech. She’s able to work from home some of the time, not all the time,” said Hadley. 

“Does your company see people asking for these shorter hours, Mike?” Debbie asked.

“I don’t see that in our industry, or at least within our office at the moment,” Hadley said.

Lessons from the pandemic

Debbie said the pandemic taught us that your seat time at work is not necessarily your productivity time at work. She added employers will find happier workers if they abandon the Monday through Friday-eight-hours-a-day mentality. The Utah 4-day workweek appears to be a better fit for workers’ mentality. 

“I think you’re going to get employees who go out into the community on their day off on Friday and talk to somebody there at the mall or at the grocery store. And talk about how lovely it is to have Fridays off, and you should come to work for my company,” she said.

Weiler provides the counterpoint. He pointed out that houses along the Wasatch Front increased by $100,000 in value within a year.

“I don’t know how my younger two kids are going to afford a house,” he said. “So now you’re talking about working less–”

“Who says they get paid less,” Debbie interjected.

“Because the math doesn’t add up. You can’t work less and get paid more,” Weiler said.

“I think you’re living in 1970,” Debbie said. “I think you can work less and get paid the same. You’re saying stick with the 40-hour workweek.”

“Yeah,” Weiler replied.

Value of seat time

“Seat time. Sen. Todd Weiler is insisting on seat time,” she said.

“I’m saying if you can do it from home, and you can cut some corners at home and still get all your work done, I’m fine with that,” he said.

“What if one of your employees just got up and left early every single day of the week to save up that eight hours or didn’t show up on Fridays to the office? They’d be fired right?” Debbie asked.

“So the value for seat time is if a client calls me, and I need something right then, and my legal assistant is not there, then I have to go find it. So there is a value in seat time.”

 

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Should Utah shift to a 4-day workweek? Show hosts divided.