State employees are mostly positive about the prospect of the new four-day work week slated to start next month, a Utah Department of Human Resource Management survey released Monday shows.

"That's what I expected all along. The vast majority are either positive or neutral to the change," the department's executive director, Jeff Herring, said of the more than 8,600 responses last week to the e-mail survey distributed by state agency heads.

Employees were asked a series of questions to measure their attitude toward the new schedule announced by Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. as a way to save an estimated $3 million annually in energy costs by closing many state buildings on Fridays.

Fifty-six percent of those responding said they preferred working four 10-hour days to the traditional five day work week. Under the governor's plan, about 23,000 employees will begin Aug. 4 working from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Most respondents said they anticipated the new schedule would have no impact on meeting child care needs, using public transportation, holding second jobs or attending school.

More than 40 percent said they believed the shorter work week would have a positive impact on their personal activities outside of work, while nearly 31 percent said the impact would likely be negative.

But more than 60 percent disagreed with the statement that there were many negatives associated with the new schedule that could not be overcome. Nearly as many disagreed working four 10-hour days would be very inconvenient.

The results are similar to those found by another recent survey, this one conducted by the Utah Public Employees Association. The the four-day work week was favored by 75 percent of the state workers who took the e-mail survey, the UPEA reported.


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