It's just a matter of time
REMEMBER ALL THAT TALK back in the middle 50's about the four-day work week? In fact, it was 1956 when Richard M. Nixon (then Vice-President) predicted that the time was "not too far distant" when the four-day work week would provide the average American family with more leisure than ever.
That day is arriving with more than 50 known companies across the country on the four-day week with countless others considering it.
What does this mean to the average family? How will this affect the average park and recreation department? Is it as good as it sounds? What are the draw backs? As one might suspect, there are many unknowns as the four-day week punches in across the nation.
HOW IT WORKS
There are many versions of the plan being used, but the most popular seems to be a ten hour day (some prefer a 9 hour day), Monday through Thursday with Friday, Saturday and Sunday off.
Some companies have even cut back to 35, 36, or 371/2 hours per week with virtually the same production record.
The plan calls for the average worker to labor from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (30 minutes for lunch) rather than the traditional (for the last few decades anyway) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Another plan calls for giving up coffee breaks and cutting back on clean up time allocated to shorten the total hours per week.
FAMILY SCHEDULE CHANGES
With the four-day week there is a good chance the average family is about to face a rescheduling problem. For example, Dad won't be at the door at 5:00 (at least some of them won't) ready for supper, and the old alarm won't be ringing at six every morning. The obvious purpose of the change is to wrap up the week's work in four days, giving everyone a three day weekend. With Americans demanding more and more recreation time, this would be a scheme for industry to comply and still not lose any production capability.
A recent book edited by management consultant Riva Poor
One expert has predicted that within the next five years 80% of industry will convert to the four-day week or similar flexible schedule. All it will take is for one large union to adopt it, and the race is on. (Chrysler Corporation is now studying the 4 day week).
NOT ALL AGREE ITS A GOOD IDEA
Not everyone agrees that the four-day week is good. Dr. Jack Chernus, chief of psychiatry at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N. J. has other ideas about the program.
Dr. Chernus sees the extra time as dangerous and boring which could lead to frustrations especially for those who have a strong drive for success. According to Dr. Chernus some people could actually get sick. These views however, seem to be in the minority.
Research is not yet available as to what effect the four-day week will have on the operation of local park and recreation departments.
SPRINGFIELD PLANT ON FOUR-DAY WEEK
Kyanize Paints, Inc. a Springfield company has been on the four-day week for two years and are more than pleased with the results.
The company employees 25, and although not all agreed that it is all roses, the general feeling is that its here to stay.
John Brownback, a chemist at the plant, is remodeling his home with his extra time and often does the normal week-end shopping on Friday in order to beat the rush. When his remodeling is completed he will have a new family room, kitchen and bedroom.
Stan Weber, a foreman, spends Friday at home working around the house getting all the odd-jobs done so that his weekends are free for hunting and fishing.
Mrs. Janet Jackson, typist and receptionist at the plant, says she can now spend the whole week-end with her four children, who range in age from 6 to 11.
Before she was "tied down doing housework." Now, she gets those chores out of the way on Fridays while the children are in school. This way the family has more time for leisure and everyone seems to be much happier.
George Schuerman, plant manager, says he believes that by 1980 the four-day week will be the rule rather than the exception.
And according to his figures, the plant does produce as much
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Illinois Parks and Recreation 9 July/August, 1971