Atlanta-based law firm Balch & Bingham has decided to let their employees work four days a week in response to high gas prices and gas shortages in some areas. People can take off Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday, once the firm figures out how to shuffle things around so that there is adequate coverage on all days. According to the ABA Journal:
Managing partner T. Joshua R. Archer says the idea came to him on Tuesday, as he was walking the halls and overheard a secretary ask the office manager if she could leave early to get in line at a station that she’d heard had gas to sell.
“It seems like a good idea from an efficiency and productivity standpoint,” he tells the legal publication, pointing out that it should be easier to find gas when others are working. Plus, having a full tank reduces stress because it’s one less thing to worry about.
Sounds great. We’re sure that everybody who lives in a commuter suburb can appreciate laying off the gas one day a week.
But there’s a catch:
They also are expected to work the same amount of hours, over four days, as they ordinarily would over five.
For the staff that could take advantage of this “perk,” how does a ten-hour day reduce stress?
Here was an opportunity for Balch & Bingham to do something really nice for their employees. You could have given them a half-day off, or a gas credit, or something. But instead it seems like Mr. Archer just came up with a way to get a nice press story without actually helping his employees or costing the firm a single cent.
Even Terri Garr’s “Schooner Tuna” boss was able to figure out the difference between a cheap gimmick and a helping hand.