Farmers Branch, Texas – In a pioneering transition that challenges traditional work schedules, Farmers Branch has initiated a four-day work week for many of its 422 full-time municipal employees, marking Thursday as the new Friday within city limits.
This change, set to commence next week, will require employees to put in longer workdays in return for an additional day of leisure. This innovative scheduling differentiates Farmers Branch from neighboring cities, such as Keller and Rowlett, who opted for similar transitions last year but closed several departments on Fridays.
Farmers Branch will be operational five days a week despite moving to four-days work week
Unlike these cities, Farmers Branch will ensure that its city hall remains operational five days a week. The city will undertake substantial adjustments, reshuffling job responsibilities for specific employee groups and allocating Monday as a day off for others. The objective is to maintain a fully staffed city department throughout the week without affecting the service quality for residents.
“Because a lot of our employees could work in the private center, or in nonprofits, or in other government agencies,” Farmers Branch City Manager Ben Williamson said to CBS Texas. “We’re competing against everyone.”
Farmers Branch’s innovative approach to workplace dynamics was initially tested in March within the parks, public works, and fire department administration staff. It’s important to note that due to the constant demands of their roles, firefighters and police officers will remain on their traditional schedules.
The restructuring of the work week also involves a comprehensive reevaluation of daily tasks and cross-training of staff to address the most critical responsibilities. A combination of roles, such as building inspection with utility billing, and the introduction of new job titles like “customer success representatives” are instrumental in enabling six individuals to undertake tasks previously managed by two. This strategic shift ensures that the city’s staffing needs align with the newly introduced scheduling.
Farmers Branch employees will work more hours meaning extending hours for citizens
Additionally, city hall’s operational hours will be extended, welcoming citizens from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., effectively lengthening the availability of essential services.
Reflecting on the innovative move, Parks Superintendent Kerry Phillips expressed enthusiasm, noting an increase in efficiency within his department and a personal benefit of reducing his 45-mile commute by one day each week. Such a change, he asserts, grants him valuable time to spend at home with his family.
“The morale has gone up,” he said, talking about his department staff. “All they talk about is being able to spend more time with their families on the weekend.”
The bold decision by Farmers Branch illustrates a progressive response to the changing landscape of work-life balance and municipal administration. By maintaining essential services while adapting to employees’ needs, the city has demonstrated a commitment to both efficiency and well-being, offering a potential model for others to follow in an increasingly competitive and demanding labor market.
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