Why the five-day workweek should be seven
The current five-workday week is broken and doesn’t reflect on the modern world. In a world where everything is connected and 24/7 available, the five-workday week is stupid.
Where did the five-workday week come from in the first place? Well, we can trace it all back to the bible where all of creation took place. It was indicated that God took six days for all of creation and made the 7th day a holy day for resting purposes.
Then it could also be traced back to Babylon where they believed there were only seven planets and the number seven was a special day. So they made the seventh day mainly for planning purposes.
All irrelevant, to the industrial age, so in the end, it was standardized by Henry Ford in 1926 where the workers only worked five days a week. This decision was taken cause of productivity optimizations and to suit the religious commitments of the workers.
It has been around 85 years since then and the world has changed drastically.
Everything is now connected and all things are available 24/7. You can shop for new clothes at midnight even though the physical stores are closed. You can purchase and download new books to read even though the physical library is closed.
A few generations ago, this was not possible cause the factories and shops were closed after a certain hour. Now everything is still accessible no matter what the time is, and you can shop and work whenever you want.
But why is there (almost) no customer support, research, development, marketing, and sales done by the workers even though their online product is available even during the weekends? Why can’t somebody produce output during the weekends? Does my laptop and internet randomly go into restriction mode once it’s the weekend? No.
This is because it’s standardized since the industrial age. It’s the norm that everybody keeps up with cause you grew up with it. It’s been almost the same for a hundred years, so people think that it is for the better. You know what they say. Don’t change anything that works.
But that’s the problem. It doesn’t work. At all.
Sales can’t be closed during the weekends even though consumers are actively shopping. Bugs on an online platform can’t be fixed unless you bother the engineer and hope the person isn’t busy with something else. Customers that have problems can’t reach customer support until Monday and thus their first impression is ruined. Or a colleague forgot about a dependency that is needed on Monday but can’t reach the person who has it during the weekend.
In a world where everything is 24/7 available, companies’ weekends are still offline.
So how do we fix this? Telling workers to work 56 hours a week everyday and be available at all times? Of course not.
The problem that is identified above is not about the quality of the output of the companies and its workers. It’s about the consistency of the output in a time where everything is 24/7 available.
The weekend as of right now disrupts progression for every online company. This system is outdated which makes companies refrain themselves from generating output.
Why isn’t it allowed for workers to work during the weekend, if they want it? Just because of an almost hundred year old system that doesn’t reflect on the real world anymore? Really?
Companies that rely on online operations like e-commerce, webshops, tools, platforms, or others, are operating 24/7. So why are there days where nobody can (officially) work?
It’s plainly stupid in the modern world.
Most jobs and skills are asynchronous now thanks to the internet. In the previous generations, you needed the cashier machine to do your job, or for example, handle the machines in the factory. Now you don’t have to.
Replying to emails can be done asynchronously. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the morning, afternoon, evening, or night, you can still send and reply to emails. Programming, writing, graphic designing, reading, learning, training, reading, drawing, and more skills can literally be done at any time during the day.
So why limit it to only certain hours like a 9-5 for only 5 days a week? Why can’t it be a 6-10 and then a 15-19 for five days in a week? Or 6-2 days?
Or what I would love myself and other people to do is to work 5 hours every day during the whole week. Also, it won’t matter when you do your job during the day as long you generate output.
Why? Cause it means I can confidently expect that work is going to be delivered everyday and within a short timespan. if sudden priorities came up, my colleague or myself can work on it within a short time. I can work whenever I want to, and not feel bad about it cause it’s not my workday. I can space out my private and working life more consistently every day, instead of randomly becoming a different person just because it’s the weekend.
If this was possible at every company I work with my daily life would be (overall) like this every day.
- 08:00 - 09:00 = Wake up
- 09:00 - 10:00 = Exercise
- 11:00 - 16:00 = Main Job
- 16:00 - 19:00 = Quality Time (Personal / Family / Friends)
- 19:00 - 21:00 = Personal Projects / Hobbies / Main Job (incase needed)
- 21:00 - 23:00 = Flexible Time (do whatever you want)
- 23:00 - 08:00 = Sleep
I don’t know about y’all, but this would be great for me. You know why? Cause my daily activities are more catered around my own personal activities. Instead of spending between 50%-70% of your day on your main job, you now spend 35%~ on your main job daily, and the other percentage you can do whatever you want.
Yes, you may have to work 35%~ every day. But to me, that sounds amazing. In this hypothetical daily schedule, I only spend 35%~ of the day which roughly is 5 to 6 hours, and for the rest of the 11 hours, I can do whatever I want.
You can play with your kids. Clean up the house. Call your family or friends. Do grocery shopping. Go exercise. Play videogames. Work on your personal businesses or whatever you want for the majority of the day. That’s amazing!
The main reason for burnout in the western world, in my opinion, is that people can’t do what they want during the day. They trap themselves into thinking they can have a sustained and healthy output for 8-10 hours long. That’s bullshit. If your body can’t handle an 8-10 hour-long jog every day, why do you think the average mind can?
The only downside that I can imagine, is that you do have to keep your work in mind every day. The weekend is designed right now, to forget about your work entirely and not do anything for it. In this hypothetical daily schedule, that’s impossible cause you have to work every day.
But do you actually ‘forget about your work entirely’ during the weekend? Especially right now in the digital age? I leave that answer up to you. I sure as hell don’t. If you really want to take time off, you take a two week or more vacation/holiday.
(Even if you say yes, answer yourself this question. How many weekends have you undergone where you literally didn’t think or talk about work? Don’t lie to yourself)
So why do I think the five workday should be turned into seven?
- Everyday there is progress in the work field
- More asynchronous work (feel free to do whenever you want to do your tasks)
- Customers can reach the companies daily
- Sudden work that may come up during a ‘weekend’ can be picked up more frequently
- A more sustained and consistent output by employees
- Fewer daily hours for the employee
- Increase of happiness of the employee
- Healthy and Modern