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The Huntsman 4-day Work Week Experiment

Utah Ends 4-day Work Week Experiment

Workweek ExperimentUtah’s experiment with a first-in-the-nation four-day workweek for state workers is over. Lawmakers scratched the experiment, saying it was not saving as much money as hoped and that residents were complaining about not having access to services on Fridays. The change won’t be easy for many employees because some had arranged daycare schedules for the four-day week, while others were using their free Fridays to work second jobs or volunteer.

Former Utah Governor and Presidential Candidate Jon Huntsman launched the “4/10″ workweek — 10 hours a day, Monday-Thursday — for thousands of employees in 2008 to improve efficiency, reduce overhead costs and conserve energy at a time when budgets are tight and resources are dwindling. A 2010 legislative audit showed the savings never materialized, in part due to a drop in energy prices. (Continue reading this story).

It seems like we are always going to be on a perpetual quest for time off. The 4/10 workweek is far from new, but it is also far from alone in the pool of ideas and theories to obtain the coveted "free time". While some concepts work out better than others maybe the adoption of one or two of these experiments by the remaining presidential candidates would give a boost to their campaigns.

Workweek ExperimentI think Presidential Candidate Herman Cain could support Google's work day. Google is committed to hiring the most creative people on the market, so they want to encourage them to keep innovating on the job. They facilitate this by offering workers 20% of their time (one whole day of the work week) to work on their own pursuits. Google expects that its employees will come up with valuable innovations while utilizing their 20% free time and so far it’s turned out very well for them, popular Google services like Google News have come directly from these 20% sessions.

Workweek ExperimentProbably the most famous work alternate schedule (and most envied by Americans right around lunchtime) is the siesta. I can definitely see Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson getting behind this one. Primarily a Spanish tradition, the practice of a mid-day two-to-three hour break can also be found in Latin America. Some regions of Germany have a two-hour mittagspause, and even some people in China indulge in a wujiao afternoon nap.

Workweek ExperimentWith a large family and strong values this next one was likely invented for Presidential Candidate Michele Bachmann to endorse. The average American might think that paid vacation time is hardly a radical idea, but how much of it we get and how much we actually use are vastly different from the rest of the world. Americans get roughly half the amount of paid vacation that countries like France and England do, and actually use even less of that time. Workers in France get 37 days off a year on average, and use 35 of them. Americans get an average 18 days off a year and only uses 14. Just imagine all the cool family activities you could do with that time off.

Workweek ExperimentNew mothers are often allowed a large amount of time off for maternity leave to be with their newborns but what if you could have a month just to yourself? Or even better, two? With Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich's sabbatical during the beginning of his run in the 2012 Primary it almost seems like he invented this concept himself. Companies like Intel are flexible enough that employees who’ve been with the company for seven years can take a two-month break to do with as they please. Other companies like American Express offer anywhere from three months to a year off, but with the stipulation that it be used for charitable or non-profit work. I wonder is Newt was running a soup kitchen on that yacht of his?

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