Focused work schedule begins in Morgantown

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – City of Morgantown employees begin a one year test of a focused four-day workweek pilot program for most departments beginning July 6.

Employees with Code Enforcement, Finance, Municipal Court, Information Technology, Arts and Culture, Human Resources, City Clerk, Development Services, Engineering, Communications, Urban Landscape, Public Works, City Manager’s Office, and the administrative offices for the Morgantown Police Department and BOPARC Will work Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“Four-day work week, employees will work their 40 hours in four days or four 10 hour days,” Interim City Manager Emily Muzzarelli said,”We have it set up to be a Monday through Thursday schedule.”

While it will be an adjustment for some, Muzzarelli believes when people learn the schedule there will be benefits.

“We’re actually able to open up City Hall and some of those different departments beginning at 7 a.m. as opposed to 8 a.m.,” Muzzarelli said,”And we’re able to stay open longer, until 5:30 p.m., right some of those departments close at 4:30 or 5 p.m.”

For the past several months, city administration has conducted research on the focused workweek. Staff contacted other municipalities that operate on the four-day schedule to find out why they transitioned, what were the benefits and challenges, and if the transition was successful. City employees were also asked to take part in a survey which was used to identify potential benefits and challenges for each department.

“By moving to a four-day work week we can have all of our departments on these extended hours,” Muzzarelli said,”So, customers can come in before or after work and not have to take time out of work.”

The idea of a focused workweek was brought forward by city staff as a way to save costs, improve employee productivity and help create a better work/life balance in employee’s lives.

There is no cost to the city to conduct the pilot program, but there will be some environmental benefits.

“Not having some of those utilities running and also from not having our employees commuting to work will reduce our carbon footprint,” Muzzarelli said.

The pilot program begins Monday, July 6 and end, if not extended or modified, June 30, 2021. The program will be evaluated throughout the year to determine whether it will be made permanent.