How will you spend the bank holiday weekend?
Whether you’re getting out of town, finally doing that DIY, or simply hanging out with friends and family, we all know that extra day can make all the difference.
Why then, are do we largely accept that these 4-day weeks come around just a handful of times a year?
Right on, Green Party
Last week, the Green Party posed this very question: party leaders Caroline Lucas MP and Jonathan Bartley pitched a proposal to give British workers a “three-day weekend”.
“How deeply do you dread the long week stretching ahead of you when you go to bed on a Sunday night?” they ask.
The answer for many people, sadly, is ‘quite a lot’.
The ‘five day on, two day off’ pattern we currently subscribe is at best draining. At worst it can be mentally and physically crippling.
Remember when every other morning was dominated by going through post, and afternoons revolved waiting on fax machines to spit out the signed invoices? (If you don’t, well done you’re in your twenties).
The fact is that in offices, even basic digital tools like email have boosted our productivity exponentially. That’s before we get onto cutting edge productivity assistants like Slack, Asana and Google Docs.
The digital revolution isn’t just about the white collar workforce. The first place you look for a plumber today isn’t your pin-board, it’s the internet. Glowing online reviews for a local restaurant or builders, can bring in business.
Again, there are also services like Urban Massage and Hassle, helping physiotherapists and cleaners work on their own terms without the overheads.
We’re all getting more work done than ever, so surely we’ve earned a break?
Hardly a new idea
Now the idea of a four-day week isn’t a new idea. In the ’50s Winston Churchill himself said technology would give “the working man what he’s never had – four days’ work and three days’ fun.”
Britons may work a 40 hour week as standard, but France and Holland have already reduced this to nearer 35 hours.
Today, in the age of the nomadic part-time entrepreneur, Timothy Ferriss even makes the argument in his book The 4-Hour Work Week that you can work, well, four hours. To do this you need to streamline your work day to focus on the essentials, one at a time, with no distractions – and it works.
This isn’t surprising. Imagine how many hours you’d save on your working week if you only checked your email once a day, cut the chit-chat and extended tea breaks? That’s half a day right there.
You might even be happy to work an extra 45 minutes a day if it meant a whole day off on Friday.
Time for change
We already know that happy, healthy workers are more loyal to their companies, and more eager and able to apply themselves at work.
We’ve been speaking about the 4-day week for decades, isn’t it about time we called for change?
Go on Green Party, let’s make Britain’s productivity count.