According to reports from, the idea of a four-day workweek is meant to save money by allowing employers to conserve power — and even shut down operations completely — for extended periods. No workers means no need for air conditioning, lights, electronics, or machinery. That, in turn, should translate into less energy-related overhead and a reduced carbon footprint. And, employees who drive to work also benefit by saving one day's worth of gas every week.

The trend has already taken hold in many New England municipalities, while others are still examining the benefits. Although reports indicate that a sixth of all U.S. cities are on a four-day, 10-hour shift schedule, not all areas of business have embraced the change. In the private sector, for instance, business owners feel the four-day week would be unworkable. One retailer also commented that their customers expect them to stay open seven days a week and it would be poor customer service to close down, ultimately hurting business.

In facilities where the four-day workweek has caught on in the private sector, it's often been for nongreen reasons. Companies in highly competitive industries have long experimented with four-day workweeks, and other scheduling alternatives, primarily as a way to attract and retain employees who need to coordinate work and family obligations. The green benefits have been an added bonus.

Ultimately, the potential energy savings may win over the private sector, according to reports.

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To learn about some ways business can stay open all week, but still provide shorter workweeks for employees, click here.