For all the talk about flexible working we still seem to be incredible wedded to the Monday to Friday working week with the weekend giving us barely enough time to unwind before we get that Monday morning feeling (from early Sunday evening, or worse).
And there’s also still an emphasis on payment for hours put in, rather than work done. Many years ago I was in a job where I could get the work done in four days a week, I was advised to take off the ‘extra day’ unofficially, because the system couldn’t cope with the idea of someone doing a full time job in 4 days!
Which got me thinking…
What if everyone in the country had a three-day weekend? Individuals would agree with their employers whether the extra day was Monday or Friday, so the business could operate the full five days. What might happen?
Personal productivity would probably go up following the increased rest time over the weekend. I could argue that people would do the same amount of work in the four days and should therefore be paid their full salary – but I know this is unthinkable for many employers and I have no evidence to back up my argument.
The leisure industry would effectively have a four day weekend – Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday – with a great boost to that part of the economy and, in most cases, benefits to our personal health and wellbeing. I bet absenteeism and sick leave would go down.
That’s it – simple – what’s not to like?
I haven’t really given it a second thought but other, wiser, people have looked at the advantages and disadvantages of a shorter working week. For starters, try http://productivemag.com/22/lessons-from-a-4-day-working-week (on one company’s experience) and http://www.neweconomics.org/publications/entry/21-hours (looking at national/ global implications)