Get More from Four

Time is gold. Each of us knows this all too well. Let me make it more striking by appending the clause investing it wisely is diamond. We know how precious diamonds are these days.

I am not going to talk about gold or diamonds anyway. I am here to talk about how the government can serve its people better by investing its time more wisely.

What I would like to advocate is the adoption of the four-day workweek by government offices. Otherwise known as the compressed workweek, this working arrangement alters the usual 8-to-5 job to a 7-to-6 job and compresses the office days to only four instead of five. The number of work hours in each week remains the same however — and so is the compensation.

How does this become beneficial? First, it will help the national government in its cost-cutting measures. Transportation costs such as fuel and maintenance will be brought down as the use of most government vehicles will be reduced by one day weekly.

Overhead office expenditures especially or utilities will also decrease significantly. Take for example the case of air conditioning units. If these appliance units operate from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., it sums up to 45 hours of electric consumption every week in the present working time arrangement. On the other hand, once the four-day workweek is implemented, this particular consumption will be reduced to 36 hours in a week provided that aircon units still operate within the same timeframe (8:00-5:00) when they are most practical to be used. This also applies to all other office equipment like computers and lamps.

In fact, the House of Representatives adopted the compressed workweek in June 2003 and reported having saved 50 million pesos from it. It was experimentally implemented from April 1 to May 31, 2002 in all GSIS offices as prescribed by the President’s Administrative Order Number 32 and the outcome was also positive. I do not know, however, why they did not make the implementation continuous. Imagine how much the government will save if most, if not all, of its offices implement this.

But let me clarify that when I say government offices, I do not mean all government offices. What I’m referring to are the government offices whose functions are not time-critical. I do not  therefore mean to include such special government branches such as police outposts and fire departments, among others.

Aside from the government itself, the employees working for the government will also profit from this. Obviously, they will have an opportunity to spend more time with their families. Three-day weekends are long enough to enjoy quality time with their loved ones; they might as well engage into part-time jobs or other worthwhile activities.

Now that you know how the four-day workweek will benefit both the government and its employees, you may wonder why the general public should support this.

One reason why we should endorse this is that it will allow us to transact business with the government in a more convenient time for us. Government offices will be open from 7:00 a.m. up to 6:00 p.m. That will give us more flexibility in choosing the time to go to these offices. And because they will be opened earlier and closed later than most private companies, even corporate employees who work from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. will be able to drop by any government office without being absent from their jobs.

Moveover, the four-day workweek will also ease up our road traffic since majority of government vehicles will only be used for four days every week. Those that will be used during the regular working days will less likely be on the road during the normal rush hours.

I am ending this message with a reminder that the greatness of a government depends on the quality of services it renders to its people. By adopting the four-day workweek, the government will be able to get more things done with less effort and in a shorter period of time.

This is a persuasive speech piece that I wrote and delivered as a requirement in my Speech Communications class back in 2003, unearthed from my heaps of old files. Thanks to Prof. Cleofe Ciar for that wonderful class!

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