Mesa will stick with a four-day workweek after a trial period showed it worked well for most employees as well as the public.
Mesa switched from the standard five-day workweek to a schedule with four, 10-hour days in March following employee requests to replicate what many private employers and governments have done in recent years.
The plan initially drew some concern that it would be tougher to do business with the city by closing administrative offices on Fridays, or that the schedule would be hard on employees.
As the city finished its test run of the schedule, a survey of slightly more than 1,000 employees found 67 percent believed the new workweek improved customer service or had no impact, though 11 percent found problems by closing on Fridays.
The city did not survey the public, saying officials have had months to hear from people who ran into problems or found benefits.
"We had so little response from the community," said Natalie Lewis, Mesa's special projects manager. "We heard some appreciation for the extended hours."
The city kept libraries, a museum and its parks department on a traditional schedule, while putting about 80 percent of the administrative staff on the four-day schedule.
The city made some adjustments, however. Water customers ran into problems when meters were shut off at the end of the week for nonpayment, and those people had to wait three days to reach somebody in the city. Mesa saw that was a problem and brought back a small number of employees on Fridays, Lewis said. Some building inspectors also work Fridays so contractors can keep on schedule. The city will consider other changes if problems arise, Lewis said.
Some employees requested to switch back to the traditional schedule because of various hardships, and they've been allowed to as long as it made business sense, Lewis said.
Mesa has found more people are calling before 8 a.m. and after 5 p.m., City Manager Chris Brady said.
"They're becoming more familiar with our hours and they're taking advantage of that," Brady said.
The employee survey found 73 percent of employees found the new workweek to be a perk, though 13 percent did not. One of the biggest drawbacks is finding child care, Lewis said, though many employees have adjusted and would not want to revert to the five-day workweek. The survey found 3 percent of employees were looking to leave Mesa because of the schedule, and 19 percent said it was more difficult to balance their work and family life.
The city attributed the new schedule as saving $1.6 million in overtime, reducing sick time and cutting $60,000 in custodial and energy costs.