City Development Services Center to shift to four-day week

The City of Asheville’s Development Services Center at 161 South Charlotte Street will switch to a four-day work week beginning July 5, 2011, a move that is expected to reduce the department’s energy use and save on overall operating costs. Employees will see savings too, says Development Services Director Robert Griffin. “For them, it means a 20 percent reduction of the money they spend on gas getting to and from work,” Griffin says.

As of July 5, the center’s new hours will be Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The Development Services Office joins other divisions within the city’s Public Works Department, most of which operate under a four-day work week.

Despite reducing the days the center is open, the switch is expected to offer a greater level of service to developers, as they will have more time at the beginning and the end of the work day to visit the center. A survey of the development community conducted last year revealed that 80 percent of those polled said they would prefer the center offer longer hours over four days.

“They’ve got a better window of opportunity to come to the office and work with us,” Griffin said.

Griffin says the center has been using every opportunity to get word of the change out into the development community, including meeting with small business groups and sending announcements to the center’s email lists.

Like the rest of the Public Works Department, the Development Services Center will have a skeleton crew that continues to operate on Fridays, namely on-site inspectors. “We will still have inspections on Fridays,” Griffin said. “And we will have a way to contact someone in the case of an emergency.”

The City of Asheville is working continuously to identify opportunities throughout the organization where shifting schedules to a four-day work week can reduce energy use and costs without reducing customer service. Currently, between 15 and 20 percent of the city staff works shifts of four 10-hour days.

Developers who would like more details about how the changes may affect them should call (828) 259-5726.