Los Altos city employees can choose 4-day work week, and it's paying off

Lauren Martinez Image
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Los Altos city employees can choose 4-day work week. It's paying off
"We've seen immediate improvements in our workforce, the morale, people satisfaction with their jobs," City Manager Gabriel Engeland said. Here's how their schedules work.

LOS ALTOS (KGO) -- The City of Los Altos is allowing employees to choose their own work schedule, including a four-day work week.

The city created the program for its roughly 150 employees after the pandemic.

City Manager Gabriel Engeland said they wanted to maintain employee flexibility.

"How we developed it was just based off employer requests and hearing they wanted flexibility and they didn't want to be in a rigid schedule and as long as we could make that work with being open to the public, being available to the public we thought we should give it a shot," Engeland said.

The program has been fined tuned over the past year.

MORE: Some US companies explore 4-day work week as COVID-19 sparks re-evaluation of working norms

City workers have three schedule options. They can work the traditional 5 days, or 9 longer days over two weeks to get every other Friday off, or the most popular option - a 4-day work week, 10 hours each day.

"We've seen immediate improvements in our workforce, the morale, people satisfaction with their jobs," Engeland said.

ABC7 spoke with Melissa Thurman, the City Clerk who just started working for the city in April. Thurman said schedule flexibility was something she was looking for.

"I think it's very important to have those days where you can just decompress from the work week and having that day available in a work week is invaluable," Thurman said.

Thurman was glad to see this opportunity provided by a local government agency.

RELATED: San Francisco startup Bolt permanently switches to 4-day work week

San Francisco tech start-up, Bolt, says it is permanently switching to a 4-day work week. CEO Ryan Breslow says it's leading to higher productivity.

"They're saying to you they trust that you're getting the work done, here's an opportunity for you to have some time for yourself at the end of the week, and you're still putting in the time," Thurman said.

She said so far working the "4/10" shift has been fantastic.

"I think it brings a lot of help for mental health, it brings just clarity for the employee to just know their employer cares enough to offer that situation," Thurman said.

Los Altos resident Kian Sandjideh said as long as you get the job done, that's what matters.

"I think the famous saying was 'In Silicon Valley, you can work any 12 hours a day you want.' And so why not city employees having the same flexibility?" Sandjideh said.

RELATED: Proposed California bill would change workweek to 32 hours for companies with over 500 employees

The city of Los Altos is open to the public five days a week.

Now other cities in the Bay Area are reaching out about their 4/10 option.

"Employees are really happy with it so I don't think we'll be changing any time soon," Engeland said.

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