In an effort to make some needed room in a tight state budget, the State of Utah recently made the decision to close government offices on Fridays. To accommodate the loss of a workday, the state moved from an 8 hour workweek to a 10 hour workweek Monday through Thursday.
A recent article by Associated Press reporter Paul Foy looked back on that schedule-shrinking decision to see what the end result was in savings. According to Foy, the State of Utah saved more than $500,000 in energy expenditures, $200,000 in reduced janitorial services and significant savings in overtime. The end result was a total savings of $4.8 million.
In addition to the significant cost savings, there’s been an unexpected result. Employees are happier. More than 85 percent of government employees responded to a survey saying they were happy with the switch to four longer workdays a week with three day weekends.
However, despite all of the positives from this new program, there have only been a handful of states looking to emulate it. There are multiple reasons why states may be hesitant to pull the trigger on the four-day workweek, but the largest is the fact that four-day weeks make state agencies and offices unavailable to constituents for three days a week instead of the standard two.
For states looking for the cost savings that comes with keeping employees away from the office, but are hesitant to fully embrace four-day workweeks, video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions like the ones provided by TANDBERG are the perfect compromise.
By implementing VTC solutions, states enable face-to-face communication between employees regardless of distance. This ability to seamlessly communicate and collaborate removes many barriers keeping state organizations and agencies from embracing telework and enables employees to continue to accomplish mission-critical tasks from outside of the office.
By implementing VTC solutions for non-constituent-facing employees, states can begin scheduling telework days and encouraging entire offices to work in a distributed manner. This allows states to keep agencies and organizations functioning five days a week while reaping the rewards of reduced energy costs, less janitorial expenses and reduced overtime from increased productivity.
VTC brings all of the savings of a four-day workweek without having to deprive constituents of important services for whole days at a time. Now that’s a cost saving solution that benefits employees and constituents.