The five-day working week - Deepstash

deepstash

Beta

deepstash

Beta

Why the weekend isn’t longer

The five-day working week

The five-day working week

In the Western world, a five-day working week has been the norm for less than a century.

  • The Reformation carved out Sunday as a holy day in Europe.
  • 19th-century bosses started granting a half-day holiday on Saturdays.
  • Industrialists such as Henry Ford pioneered the 40-hour working week in the early 20th century.
  • In France, the Matignon Agreements of 1936 put the 40-hour week into law.
  • In 1940, America mandated two full days of freedom.
  • China's Communist Party only allowed workers to shift to five working days in 1995.
  • In 2000, the French government reduced the full-time worker's week to 35 hours.

65 SAVES

532 READS


EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Past predictions about the average working hours
Past predictions about the average working hours

Nearly a century ago, British economist John Keynes predicted this generation would only work 15 hours a week.

In 1890, workers worked an average of 60 hours per week. By 1890, the aver...

The rise in the average working hours: contributing factors

The rise in average working hours a week can be related to three serious issues:

  • We celebrate "being busy."
  • We worry about losing our jobs in the current economic climate.
  • We use devices that make us always on.

The rise of knowledge work has led to jobs with less structure, more demands, and higher pressure to be productive.

Overworking leads to decreased productivity

Studies show that working more hours increases productivity up a point; after that, the law of diminishing returns sets in. That point is around 49 hours per week.

Research shows overworked employees have an increased risk of fatigue, general poor health, and cardiovascular disease. Another study showed that managers couldn't tell which employees worked 80 hours per week and who just pretended to.

Our culture of work

Our culture claims that work is unavoidable and natural. The idea that the world can be freed from work, wholly or in part, has been suppressed for as long as capitalism has existed.

Exploring the abolition of work
  • In 1885, socialist William Morris proposed that in the factories of the future, employees should work only four hours a day.
  • In 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that advances in technology would lead to an age of leisure where people might work 15 hours a week.
  • Since the early 2010s, these ideas have been developed further, creating a growing critique of work as an ideology, and exploring alternatives to work.
  • Post-work offers enormous promises: In a life of much less work, life would be calmer, more equal, more communal, more pleasurable, more thoughtful, more politically engaged, more fulfilled.
Work ideology

The work ideology is not natural nor very old.

  • Before the modern era, all cultures thought of work as a means to an end, not an end in itself.
  • Once the modern work ethic was established, working patterns started to shift. Between 1800 and 1900, the average working week shrank from 80 hours to 60 hours, and in the 1970s to roughly 40 hours.
  • In 1979, Bernard Lefkowitz related in his book that people who had given up their jobs reported feelings of "wholeness." During the same period, because wages were high enough, it became possible for most people to work less.
  • During the 80s, work ideology was reimposed by aggressively pro-business governments who were motivated by a desire for social control.
  • By the early 21st century, the work culture seems inescapable.
    Longing For The Office Culture
    Longing For The Office Culture
    • Earlier a privilege for a few, work from home became a norm for most office-goers due to the ongoing pandemic and is likely to remain for the rest of the year.
    • The shift towards wo...
    Work-Life Balance When Working From Home
    • Though employees are happy to see the demise of daily commutes and parking hassles, they are finding out that there is no work-life balance at home.
    • Most workers live in apartments that aren’t suitable for 8 to 10 hours of work every day, as it was never designed to be a full-fledged office.
    • Many employees would want to get back to offices as soon as possible due to social and mental issues, like the feeling of loneliness at home.
    Digital Monitoring

    Monitoring software that checks time spent on different applications, chat response time, and keystroke recording is now in great demand.

    HR departments worldwide are fueling the use of technology to have a way to control the employees that are now no longer in the office.