Working for the 3 day Weekend
I'm going to tell you something that perhaps you won't agree with, but which I happen to know is a fact. A hard fact.
Monday to Friday, 2 week vacations and the 9-5 schedule will go extinct in our lifetime. I am sure you are over-worked and tired. There is plenty of money in this world, but no matter how you seem to attempt to organize it, there just isn't enough time left over to play, love and enjoy the fruit of our labor. We are working like squirrels, putting our acorns away for some Game of Thrones end of the world winter in the far distant future that doesn't exist.
The rules about how much of our time of our life we dedicate to work are unquestioned by all societies around the world. We are all too busy commuting 2 hours a day to have time to even think about why we don't have time. The 5 day workweek is one of humanity's biggest fuckups and I'll explain why.
We all like to believe that we are born into freedom from but that is a well-manufactured illusion.
There are rules, laws and principles which we live by that were not dreamed, conceived or signed into law by us, our parents or our grandparents. The systems that we live by were forged by strangers, many of them long dead. Being truly free would mean choosing if working 5 days a week is something we want, or given options, instead we all just make a line to walk in the corporate machine. Step out of line, be late, leave early or take too much vacation and you'll be out of a job. Don't fuck with the system.
Everyone knows that the weekend and the one day rest day arises from deep religious roots (And on the seventh day he rested). This was true until 1908, a mere hundred years ago, when a mill in New England changed Saturday from a half-day to a full day's rest in order to accommodate its Jewish workers who were celebrating Sabbath. After that the rest is history. The 5 day work week is something we take to be a universal law but which is just a historic pattern which none of us dare to question.
I don't need an article, or stats, or polls to tell me that the amount of time we dedicate to work is not right. I feel it in my body, I feel it in my soul. I feel it when I'm overworked, and I feel it even more when I'm underworked. We're all bluffing, because none of us can work the hours we say we do. We are all merely over-talking, over-meeting, and over-doing to play the game. Studies have proven over and over again that our attention span and our productivity bursts are short. Our bodies cannot be 'on' all the time from morning to night. Stopping, focusing and resting as sometimes more important than the actual working.
Have you ever had a 3 day weekend? I implemented this when I was running ADC in the summer and I came across an incredible discovery. Adding one day to the weekend sounds like a small deal, like a token, but in practice it doesn't just add a day to the weekend, it completely transforms what the weekend is, how we behave in our period of rest, and more importantly the state in which we return to work.
On a normal weekend leaving work on Friday can be visualized by steam coming from your back. All the madness of the week is staying behind you. You have two days, 48 golden hours, in which you have to carry out the following:
Cleaning, dry-cleaning, organizing and getting your house and yourself ready to face another work week. Personal errands that you cannot do during the week (like tuning your bike, going to Home Depot and installing a new shelf in your house) Relaxation and personal time (sometimes you just need to be alone) Catching up on social activities with non-work friends. Catching up on sleep. Anyone can see that two days is just not enough to accomplish all of this, especially if you add the exhaustion factor. Sometimes we just want to be lazy for an entire day, making the weekend just another over-scheduled part of our lives.
To fix this problem, we just need to add one more day to the weekend. It's that simple.
Ending work on Thursday allows people one full night to slow down, ‘de-steam’ and relax. Just knowing that three full free days are ahead of you stops the manic FOMO from arising - "I must run to have fun and do everything I can" that we now suffer on Friday. Staying in on a Friday night doing nothing at home can be hard to accomplish without feeling guilty because we might feel we are misusing our valuable and limited free time. On the other hand, relaxing and doing nothing on a Thursday night at the beginning of a 3 day weekend is a guilt-free experience because we know we have enough free time to get all the things we want done, including relaxing.
The three day weekend fixes the inefficiencies because you now have time to fit in all the weekend tasks I mentioned above. More importantly you also have time to be lazy and do nothing, something which appears non-productive but actually is. Picture a philosopher thinking, what is he doing? The vision that arises in your mind is likely of a bearded guy with his fist under his jaw, chilling by a pond sitting on a rock just thinking. Thinking deeply about a problem and being lazy looks the same because when we chill our minds are actually hard at work organizing thoughts, feelings and emotions. Giving our minds this space to expand and process will lead to a productive, stress-free weekend. When we fill up our happiness-meter we gain the necessary energy to face the working weekend head on with a fresh mind.
With a two day weekend, we're not running on strong clear minds, we're running on adrenaline.
Implementing a longer weekend would send a message to all facets of society; that work is NOT the most important part of our lives, living is. We live to work in the two day weekend, but we work to live in the three day weekend. Allowing people to have time with their families to play, cook, fuck, sleep and bond will give the businesses that employ them a much stronger, healthier and creative worker.
Why are so few companies then implementing the 3 day weekend?
Even though it seems like the right thing to do most decision-makers are very likely afraid that making such a giant leap with leave them at a competitive disadvantage against competitors that will stay back on 5 work days a week.
Don’t worry. Even though it might seem like you’re throwing away a valuable 8 hour workday, you’ll actually be building the work environment of the future and the pioneers that implement this will actually be the ones that reap the most benefits. The smartest individuals, the most creative people, great leaders, managers and overachievers are all intelligent self-driven people who won't need much convincing to work for you because they know two important facts:
It is physically possible for them to do the work of 5 days in 4 if the reward is one day off. They value the time to enjoy life more than the extra money they would make working one extra day, because money is useless without having the time to enjoy it. It’s like being a millionaire in a deserted island. Shifting to a 4 day week will make us healthier, happier, and more effective but it doesn’t stop there. The pace at which we are working, consuming and producing is one of the main reasons why the global environment is deteriorating so much and so fast. We're using so much fuel to keep all the economies of the world not moving, but running, towards some grand finale that doesn't exist. Slowing down the speed of the economy would give us more time to plant vegetables and fruits at home and spend more time adapting our homes to the levels of sustainability that the future demands of us now. I don't think any of us have time to take care of the planet right now, it just doesn't fit into our schedule. Slowing down will help us spend more time in nature, and re-connect with our true reality, which would then lead to lower rates of mass consumption, which in turn will lead to a less polluted environment. If the extra day results in people finally having time to plant and harvest some veggies in their back gardens then we would all win.
I'll let some math wiz to do the numbers on the efficiencies gained with this model, but having done this corporate experiment in real life is all the proof I need to see. The 4 day work-week and the 3 day weekend is the future and there’s nothing non-believes can do about it except delay it.
I think someone has to stop talking and put their foot down. I volunteer to be first. I do not want to work for anyone that doesn't understand that this is the future, and more importantly I don't want anyone to work for me that cannot do the work of 5 days in 4. I want to work with people that understand the future and are ready to work in tight bursts instead of hovering, filling the day with useless water-cooler talk, long meetings, and random youtube/facebook/twitter checkins. Let's have 4 intense and intellectually stimulating days of work followed by 3 days of being a human being. Getting people that have a real life outside work, awesome ehobbies, studies outside work, and rich personal lives will bring a greater higher level of thinking that will be contagious and indirectly affect the bottom line. The place with the best people always wins.
Thank God it's Thursday.