Some B’ham companies embrace 4-day workweek

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 3:58 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2022 at 11:16 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - At the Jefferson County Housing Authority, every day may be a new day, but the five-day, eight-hour workweek is history.

“Around 2013, the office went to the four 9s and one 4,” says Human Resources Director Diane Clark. She says about five years ago, they decided that by keeping a maintenance worker on call, the office could close all day on Friday.

“We continued to do the study as far as our maintenance calls for about six months to assure that we were still adequately covered. There weren’t a whole lot of work orders coming in on Fridays. And then it just changed to four 10s for everybody,” says Clark.

That means the office runs from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a half-hour lunch.

Clark says with a full extra day for hobbies, side jobs or doctor appointments, people miss work less often.

Executive Director Hannah Gore says the schedule is locked in for her family.

“I’m a mom of two,” said Gore. “And so being able to take my kids to school on a Friday, instead of having a grandparent do it, or have a babysitter keep them, that cuts down on the cost there. And also just being able to participate in their school activities because a lot of them are done on Fridays.”

Gore says her husband, who works at Alabama Power, has been on a four-day week even longer than she has.

The idea has also caught on at the largest employer in the state - depending on where you work. Janet May, UAB’s Chief HR Officer, says coming out of the pandemic, the university spent one year allowing 5,000 employees to experiment with remote or hybrid arrangements.

Just weeks ago, it launched its Alternate Work Options program, which allows for flex scheduling, including a four-day workweek.

“So, the departmental level, they look at what works for them,” said May. “And part of the commitment when we’re talking with flexible scheduling is that they have to remain open for the hours that we serve. So, if they serve our students, they always have to be available for our students.”

And while they enjoy the three-day weekends, Diane Clark reminds us that there is a cost.

“You don’t do a lot of activities Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night. That’s for sure,” she added.


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