By Lucy Hart, Demand Media
Students enjoy the advantages of the four-day school week.
The current economic downfall has affected the quality of education for many Americans. As a result of the economic crisis, there has been an increase in class sizes, a decrease in educational resources, and a persistent decline in instructional positions offered each school year. Despite the weakened economy, school districts are working to provide a quality education, even if it means transitioning to a four-day school week. The overall effect of the four-day week remains debatable; however, there are numerous advantages to implementing the four-day school week.
Implementing a four-day school week can decrease the cost of maintaining school utilities, food often provided for staff and students, and fuel used to transport students to and from school. School districts can save up to twenty-percent of costs if resources are conserved properly. Additional funds can be used to hire more instructional staff as well as provide the necessary educational resources, resulting in an improved educational experience for students and staff.
Schools may use the fifth day of the week to provide professional development for staff and additional learning opportunities for students. If students cannot attend tutoring or specified programs during school hours, they have the additional day to seek assistance from teachers and peers, resulting in improved academic achievement. Likewise, teachers have the opportunity to advance their skills while collaborating with one another. The four-day week is also credited for improving academic performance due to extended class periods.
During the traditional school week, numerous student athletes miss a wealth of class time due to athletic events. However, districts that implement the four-day week may plan athletic events on the unscheduled day, leading to increased attendance and fewer disruptions to instructional time for students and staff.
Students and staff often miss school days to attend medical appointments and other significant events. However, the unscheduled day allows students and staff to attend these appointments without disrupting their attendance. Students and teachers also have the day to catch up on school-related assignments and responsibilities, allowing them to feel motivated and prepared each day they attend school.
Many parents often struggle to provide after-school care and supervision for their students. However, a four-day week requires an extended school day for students and staff. As a result of the additional instructional time, students will arrive home closer to the time of their parents, decreasing the overall need for after-school care and supervision. Additionally, parents appreciate having the opportunity to spend more time with their children.
Setting Up a Schedule for a Four-Day Work Week
by Gina Scott, Demand Media
Four-day work weeks can lead to more productive employees. A standard work week occupies a significant part of an employee’s daily life. Since the 1970s, attempts at alternate work schedules have come and gone. One popular accommodation to a traditional work schedule consists of employees working four days a week, instead of five. A Brigham Young University study showed that employees who worked a compressed work week were more productive and had better morale, while companies saved on utility costs.
Assess the Alternatives
A four-day work week typically consists of coming to the office for four days a week, made up of 10-hour shifts each day. Workers who choose this option may work four days in a row, or a series of two days with one day off in between. Companies also sometimes offer a slight variation of the schedule. For example, an employee can work 80 hours during the course of nine days rather than two weeks. This schedule allows for someone to work less than 10 hours per day, while having off an extra day every two weeks.
When scheduling a four-day work week, consideration must be given to the customer. Customers who are used to coverage on an 8-5 schedule every single day need to be addressed. To solve this potential issue, some companies require employees to alternate their off days so that the office is still open during all regular business hours. Companies also may require certain departments to work regular set hours while others can choose the flexible scheduling of a four-day work week.
Coping with Outside Demands
Adjusting to a four-day week work requires modifications to personal schedules. Drop off times for children at school and day care may need to be adjusted within families. While the extra day off during the week allows for additional freedom of scheduling appointments and activities, the longer regular days at work need to be taken into consideration. Extra help may have to be obtained for tasks usually completed before or after work.
Protecting the Day Off
One hazard to a four-day work week is not having the extra day off honored by yourself or others. Strict policies about the implementation of overtime help to enforce truly getting the additional day off during the week. At times, an employee may end up coming in on the fifth day for a few hours and end up staying longer than expected because the office is open and busy. This practice defeats the purpose of having a four-day work week and must be monitored.
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