A Four Day Work Week; Oh, Really? Come On!
Over the weekend, I read in The Times about flap concerning a four day work week. It’s difficult to see what the hubbub is about. Oh, yeah, the biggest argument is “it’s always been that way.”
Actually, no, it’s not “always been that way.” In the 19th century (the 1800s) history indicates the workweek was at least 70 and perhaps more hours per week. One reason that was so is then, many Americans were entrepreneurs and working for themselves; counting the hours of work didn’t matter…much…like being self-employed in the 21st century.
Determining the factors of calculating a workweek is fraught with ambiguities, of which one is “what constitutes work…and who is the worker.” (www.eh.net) From my perspective, there might be as many definitions of that as there are ways to complete any given task…or not complete any given task. I’m not debating that; just looking at the flap surrounding a perpetual three day weekend; and perhaps, the question of why “The Weekend” always has to be Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
In the editorial “Short Observations on The Four Day Workweek” The Times cited the school systems of Caddo, Desoto and Sabine parishes and their “experiences” with a four day work week. One conclusion seems to be that many employees didn’t actually complete the requisite 40 hours per week; sometimes working as few as 24 hours yet being paid for 40. Another scenario that allowed employees to take either Friday or Monday off appeared to make it difficult for essential people to connect with each other on vital issues. Yet another factor seems to be that there is always more work that needs to be done than there is time in which to do the work.
That editorial cited “a parting observation from (a) Shreveport blogger: …if five…can get (it all) done in four days, then four…can (do it) in five days…leading to…dismissal of one.” Now, considering editorial’s observation there is “always more work than for which there is time,” how CAN four workers do the work of five in ANY length of time? Additionally, there seems to be no excuse for being unable to connect with one another given the networking and connective technology of the moment…even “on one’s day off.”
There seems to be lots of hand wringing and drama over retaining a five day work week or instituting a perpetual three day weekend. Because I think I’ve learned how to be responsible for the work I need to get done and except for attending church and “resting” on Sunday because it’s scriptural, I’ve advocated neither a five day work week or a three day weekend. I want to point out that sometimes, I falter and miss a deadline-I’m human! But by and large, I meet the work demand placed on me by the concerns – including myself - for which I “work.” That we are conscientious, dedicated, and responsible and SO connected, I offer this observation/OPINION: Structured work weeks, oh, really? Aside from needing to “be on time” for an important meeting or a presentation, as long as the work gets done, WHEN it’s done should be of little to no concern.