The biggest drawback seems to be the potential loss of services from state offices that serve the public. Those offices might wind up being open only four days a week but open later/earlier on those four days. I think we could live with that. More and more transactions are already conducted over the phone or computer and that trend could be expanded to ensure the fewer working days don’t result in longer lines at state offices providing services directly to the public. So I’m not sure that is a real concern.
Having some experience with a four day work week, I will say there are some drawbacks. The most obvious is the longer day. My experience involved a very low stress job so the long days really didn’t bother me. However, it’s all some people can do to get through eight hour (or 7.5 for State employees) without going mad or passing out from exhaustion. Up that to 10 (9.375 or whatever for State workers) might result in lost productivity.
Another drawback concerns childcare. Single parents or even couples who both work the longer days might find it difficult to have their child in daycare for so long each day. The advantage here is that as this work schedule gets more popular, daycares will adjust and may wind up with four day work weeks of their own. Still, the transition might be a strain on the household.
I’m wondering, if the four day work week becomes popular, if we might not see the traditional weekend expanded and standardized. That is, Monday or Friday might become part of what we consider to be the weekend. Of course, my vote it for Fridays.
In the end, the greatest resistance to a four day week is going to come from employers (including the general public in the case of State workers) because there is an underlying impression that this is a concession to employees. Many employers now would treat an employee asking for the four day week as if they were trying to get away with something. I think the same traditional mentality exists for telecommuting. I also think we all need to get over that notion and embrace the benefits.