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Wayne County switches to four-day work week

Posted July 9, 2008

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— Wayne County Manager Lee Smith said he has gotten mixed reviews from employees on the county’s decision to switch to a four-day workweek for many of its departments and facilities.

“This is not going to be easy for employees. It may not be easy for some of our customers,” Smith said Wednesday.

The change is a result of rising fuel costs. While employees will still work a 40 hour week, workdays will be longer to accommodate for the extra day off.

Smith said some employees are concerned about their hours changing.
“We’ve had questions about daycare and childcare,” Smith said.

The first phase begins Aug. 4, and officials hope it will save up to 15 percent of utility costs while continuing to provide the same level of customer service. The cost cutting measure is estimated to save the country $300,000 to $500,000 a year in energy costs.

Not all departments and buildings are effected. The Wayne County Courthouse, sheriff's office county administration building and animal control will continue to operate five days a week.

Those departments closed on Friday include the human resources department and social services. (See a complete list.)

Smith said closing the County Office Building, which houses the health and social services departments, should save a lot in energy costs.

The county may expand the number of offices that work four-day weeks, Smith said.
The first phase of the plan will be in affect for a year, Smith said. The county said it hopes to implement a second phase of its utility savings plan later this year.

The community is split on the idea.

Wayne County resident Phil Kastner thinks the decision is a “great idea.”

“There are several companies here in Wayne County that do a four-day workweek,” Kastner said.
Aletra Jones, of Goldsboro, said she is not comfortable knowing the health department will be closed on Fridays.

“People do need the service Monday through Friday, you know… so I don’t think it’s fair at all for them to be closing,” Jones said.

Smith acknowledges the new hours will take some getting used to.

“This is not going to be without growing pains. We know that,” Smith said.

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  • Bendal1 Jul 10, 2008

    "The change is a result of rising fuel costs. While employees will still work a 40 hour week, workdays will be longer to accommodate for the extra day off."

    jlw2074,

    My comments were made based on the above quote and the quotes from people concerned about not being able to access the offices on traditional workdays. It sounds from the article as well that they were going to the 4 day week to help employees, and the energy savings from closing the office was nice but not the main reason.

  • jlw20734 Jul 10, 2008

    " That way the offices are open every workday and employees still get to work only 4 days a week." Not to be harsh Bendal1, but the whole point of the story was that the office were being closed on fridays to save money on energy costs. The use of flexible work schedules has no bearing on this story.

  • nathanius Jul 10, 2008

    “People do need the service Monday through Friday, you know… so I don’t think it’s fair at all for them to be closing,” Jones said

    The extra hours they work during the week gives citizens time to come and handle business with the county, after hours without taking off work. It's a great idea working 40 hours M-F is one of those traditions that we need to break from.

  • Bendal1 Jul 10, 2008

    If they're concerned about offices being closed on Friday, here's a simple solution; allow two shifts of 10 hour days. One group works Monday-Thursday, the other group works Tuesday-Friday. That way the offices are open every workday and employees still get to work only 4 days a week.

    Our office allows the usual 8 hour days, 10 hour days, or 9 hour days plus 4 hours on the fifth day. There's always someone in the office every day with this many schedules.

  • Raleigh Jul 10, 2008

    Hats off to lee smith! Perhaps smith can become the mayor of raleigh and help raleigh save some $$$. meeker, watch and follow smith.

  • moreupset Jul 9, 2008

    “People do need the service Monday through Friday, you know… so I don’t think it’s fair at all for them to be closing,” Jones said

    What does Jones do for Saturday and Sunday?

  • clintoflannagan Jul 9, 2008

    Reminds me of a story I heard one time about a famous politician visiting Raleigh. He was being driven around down town and saw a building that houses many state government employees. He asked "How many people work in that building?" His driver replied: "Oh, about half of them."