Sunday, March 21, 2010

Every Wednesday off...


Here's one for pondering as we all enter the beginning of a long, new work week... what if we all got every Wednesday off?

Think about it; nobody would work more than two days in a row. I foresee many benefits to this format:
  • Every Tuesday evening and Wednesday would be free giving everyone more of that leisure time we all so desperately need to enhance our personal wellness.
  • More family time, or time with friends would be so nice.
  • More concentrated effort during the other four work days each week would result in higher productivity and less stress for all.
  • We'd all be more rested.
  • Kids would be more focused in school.
Ten hour days on the work days excluding Wednesday would still result in a forty hour week (if that's even what we need; I question that.)

We so desperately need balance in our lives, and this work week format would provide some.

Quality, not quantity... Why is it always the simplest axioms we have such a difficult time putting to practice?

4 comments:

  1. I used to work like that. 4 days a week, 10 hour days. They were perfectly alright.
    I quite like the idea. In France, most students used to have and may still have Wednesday afternoons off.
    Though, saying that, this is obviously to free up time for teachers to work and not for teachers to leisure.

    I like your idea!

    ReplyDelete
  2. > a forty hour week (if that's even what we need; I question that.)

    I suspect you're suggesting that fewer hours would be all right. My first reaction is that, if you have secretaries and miscellaneous support people available to you to respond pretty much instantaneously to requests to do mundane tasks, that might be possible; but if you don't, then 40 hours is nowhere near enough to do many jobs that feature a balance of creative and "housekeeping"-type tasks (I'm a university professor). About 12 hours on 5-6 days a week is a fairly typical pattern where I am in Japan.

    I'm not saying this is necessarily better. But I find the discussion at least in western circles curiously skewed towards the idea that 40 hours is some kind of upper limit that no one can humanely be expected to exceed, and that going beyond that on a sustained basis will bring diminished returns and poor health. But Japan has the longest average lifespans in the world, I believe, and also very long workdays. (Don't believe the official statistics that Japanese workers now work less than Americans; these only take into account the largest companies, perhaps the only places where labor laws are not routinely ignored.) I think it's an empirical question how many hours it's possible for people to work efficiently and happily, and as far as I know no-one's really done much research on the question.

    Along the lines of starsandclouds, though, I can see a lot of value in a modified version of your proposal: regular work on 4 days a week, and Wednesdays for deep focus on one project, with the understanding that people shouldn't email/call you, or expect you to teach classes/attend meetings, and so on.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Interesting perspective Rick.

    In response, I think something has gone wrong in society, whether western or otherwise, when we don't believe we can function effectively with 40, or even less than 40 in some cases, work hours per week.

    I see this as a balance issue. Eastern cultures and religions have been extolling the virutes of balance for centuries; how have we got to this place where such an imbalance in our lives has become the norm.

    The way I see it, 8 hours of work, 8 hours of play and 8 hours of rest every day would be quite nice, and most people would be very productive and efficient under this guideline. There is no shortage of research linking stress to over-worked people no matter what culture or corner of the globe they come from.

    I do agree that reconfiguring how our work day looks to include more targeted and focused time preparing and planning would be great.

    ReplyDelete

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