Custodial staff tries four-day workweek

Kristen Traynor

Abdoul Ouedraogo, freshman technology major, cleans tables in the Hub for his summer job. Custodians’ workweeks have recently been shortened to Monday through Thursday. Tracy Tucholski | Summer Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

University officials have given custodial staff the option of working a four-day week this summer to help save on fuel costs.

Scott Rainone, assistant director of university media relations, said that after the program was first offered in late May, 78 of the 94 custodial staff members have decided to take advantage of this option.

Before the program started, custodians worked eight hours a day, five days a week, but now they’re working 10 hours a day, four days a week. It is the same amount of hours, and benefits and vacation time will not be affected, said custodial supervisor Greg Evans.

He said he has taken advantage of the program and has made a conscious decision to stay home on his day off.

“I try not to drive, so I’ve been staying at home and doing projects around the house versus

driving,” Evans said.

Evans went on to say that some staff members have been spending almost $100 a week on gas and must be saving about $20 by working one day less.

This program, however, is not permanent.

“It’s on a trial basis to see how it works through the summer,” Evans said.

Rainone said David Creamer, former senior vice president for administration, started the program as an experimental project.

Creamer recently left Kent State for Miami University so Robert “Yank” Heisler, interim senior vice president for administration, now controls the fate of the program.

Heisler said in an e-mail that the program will be evaluated at a future date, and that he and reviewers in human resources will focus on “productivity, convenience and coverage” to make their decision.

Other universities across the country are experimenting with the four-day workweek this

summer as well.

Gas prices are at an average of $4.03 a gallon, according to the Energy Information Association, the statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Energy. As gas prices continue to climb, the nationwide effort to cut down on fuel usage makes programs like this increasingly common.

Evans said his advice to others who may want to try out the four-day workweek is to realize that it takes a lot of planning and cooperation between staff members to make the program successful.

The university custodial staff decided that each employee would take a different day off, and Evans said the staff was eager to work together to make sure every day of the week was covered.

The program has helped the staff get projects that used to take two days done in one, and it has boosted morale and cooperation, Evans said.

Contact principal reporter Kristen Traynor at [email protected].