Workplace trends in the Western world include: higher hourly productivity, along with an increasing number of work hours. And to what end? Historically high levels of wealth disparity, along with record unemployment.
Higher productivity is something to strive for and celebrate, but not at the cost of social well-being. Not at the expense of hard-working people’s happiness, and the stability of our economy.
A shorter work week is an obvious solution. It keeps more people employed, and while it may seem to impact corporate profits in the short term, it could stabilize our economic infrastructure such that everyone benefits.
Experiments around working fewer hours have not been entirely successful. The most notable — the French 35-hour work week — has been largely dismantled, and who was surprised? The structure of a 35-hour work week still demands 5 work days, so it’s just not substantively different from the old system in freeing up leisure time.
Working just four days a week and then getting three days off would be wonderful from a worker’s perspective, but it’s hard to imagine such a system would be adopted widely. A 20% decline in working hours per week is just too radical for most companies to entertain.
The idea is to alter the very calendar the system is based on. The best way to adjust global work-life balance is not to shave hours here or there, or flip schedules around willy-nilly, but to change the very definition of the week.
Imagine a week with four work days, and then two weekend days. Sixty-one weeks (and weekends!) per year. You’d power through four days of work with a sense of urgency and purpose, and then enjoy the two-day weekend you’ve known your whole life.
I know it’s different. I know it seems strange. But what is so special about the seven-day week other than that it’s how long God took to make the earth and heavens? The week we have now is completely arbitrary, and not well-suited to our planet’s modern challenges.
In many fields of work, we might find that with the new pace of the six-day week, less time is wasted. That people find it in themselves to give just as much effort through four work days as they previously did in five. With the quick tempo of a four-day work week, who has time to waste?
This site will be a repository for my research into the social construct of the week and how to transition modern society to a six-day week. I intend to start from scratch, seeking to understand the history of the week, the economic impacts of change to the week, and viability of permanently changing how the world counts its days.