Goodbye, five-day workweek

Every weekend should be long

Hiiiii! Was one of my earliest memories of anxiety watching her perform on SNL in 2004? Yes. But was Ashlee Simpson onto something with the song “Pieces of Me?” Also yes. I mean, “On a Monday, I am waiting, Tuesday, I am fading, and by Wednesday, I can't sleep…?” Incredibly relatable for anyone crawling their way through the week to Friday.

Let’s vibe: See above—today’s soundtrack is obvs Pieces of Me.


The Benefits of the Four-Day Workweek

…Since we all thought critically about the structure of the traditional workweek. And I mean that literally: The 40-hour workweek became a thing not too long after the sinking of the Titanic in 1912…so I’d say we’re due for an upgrade, no?

It’s time to talk about the four-day workweek. And it will probably not shock you to learn that I am in favor. But before we get to the very real, very 2023 evidence suggesting the benefits of axing one of our workdays?

Let’s understand how we got here. And how Henry Ford plays into it all.

Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries (which was the late 1800s and early 1900s if you, too, are confused by the way time works), some post-Industrial Revolution workers found themselves clocking 14-hour workdays. And they didn’t even have LinkedIn to post about those workdays on.

Soon, those overworked workers began to strike (very metal) using the slogan “eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, eight hours for what we will” (also very metal).

Turns out that worked. In 1926, Henry Ford was the first business leader to cut his employees’ workweeks from six days to five without any change in pay. He believed it would make them more productive and allow them to spend more time with family. My guy!

That was big! But fast forward 97 years, and we’re still 1) working the same sched our great grandparents were and 2) snoozing our Monday morning alarm for the 10th time like we never even had a weekend. But what if that changed?

Enter: the four-day workweek.

The idea of cutting the workweek by a day is taking off. The non-profit 4 Day Week Global recently ran a pilot program that reduced almost 3,000 UK employees’ workweeks to four days. The results?

More sleep: An extra “I only sleep like this on Saturdays” night’s sleep? Say less. 46% of the pilot’s participants felt less fatigued with a shortened week.

Decreased stress and burnout: The study found that 78% of employees with four-day weeks were happier and less stressed. And with burnout becoming a bigger and bigger problem (have you talked to your teacher friends during this nationwide teacher shortage?), happier and less stressed are 100p good things to be.

Boosted morale and retention: 15% of the participants said they would not go back to a job with a five-day workweek, no matter how much money they were offered. Big mood.

Work-life balance: A shortened workweek leaves more time to spend with friends and family and may ultimately lead to better gender equality when it comes to parenting.

And FYI, because fairness is my middle name, there are some anti-four-day-workweek types out there. Their biggest concerns: decreased productivity and a loss of sales and revenue.

The bottom line: Getting free lunch during a mandatory “team bonding” activity doesn’t quite hit the same as sleeping in on a Friday morning or spending a long weekend with family. It’s time for companies to start providing benefits that are actually beneficial, and it sounds like the four-day workweek is a great place to start.

So what are our thoughts on a shorter week?

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Things to Slack your work besties

…as you anonymously forward this email to your CEO.

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve rage applied to a job after my boss added another thing to my to-do list, I’d be able to afford front row tickets for the Renaissance World Tour by now. But perhaps I’m being rash (me? never). As much as I love a good EasyApply on LinkedIn, experts say being intentional when applying improves the chances of landing one that you’ll actually like.

American Girl just revealed their latest dolls from their Historical Characters collection. Twins named Isabel and Nicki from…1999!!! I officially now feel as old as Kirsten churning her own butter in the 1800s.

When do we want it? NOW!

One thing about me (that I’m sure you know by now) is that I will never get over Jennifer Coolidge. Her recent W Magazine cover? Iconic.

Thanks for reading! Hope you have a great week, even if it’s five days long. 🙃 See you back here on Friday for a very special Q&A!



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