Farmers Branch latest city to move to a 4-day work week: ‘The morale has gone up’

FARMERS BRANCH ( — Thursday is the new Friday in Farmers Branch—the latest city to begin moving employees to a four-day work week.

Starting next week, many of the city’s 422 full-time employees will work longer days in exchange for an extra day off.

Unlike other cities in the region that have moved to a four-day week, Farmers Branch will continue to keep its city hall open Monday through Friday, and will also adjust job duties for some employee groups and give others Monday off to keep departments staffed throughout the week.

The city made the move in order to keep and compete for talented employees, according to city manager Ben Williamson.

“Because a lot of our employees could work in the private center, or in nonprofits, or in other government agencies,” he said. “We’re competing against everyone.”

The city tested the concept in March with the parks, public works and fire department administration staff. Firefighters and police officers won’t be part of the new scheduling due to their around-the-clock schedules.

Keller and Rowlett made the move to four-day weeks last year, closing several departments within their city halls on Fridays.

Williamson said city leaders didn’t want to give up a day of making services available for residents though. Instead, they determined the top needs on most days, and started cross-training staff to share some of the more in-demand duties.

Building inspection and permitting was combined with utility billing. Other staff will pick up some open records duties. They’ll start using new job titles of “customer success representatives.” In that way, a department that did have two people might now have six who could cover the job, enabling the city to manage the new schedule.

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City Hall will actually be open longer now, with the doors open at 7:30 a.m. and not closing until 6 p.m.

Kerry Phillips, the parks superintendent, said the move made employees in his department even more efficient in knowing the end of the work week arrives faster. Personally, he relishes in making the 45-mile commute one less day per week, allowing him more time 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.”


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