Back when I had an office job, I’d spend a few minutes after my alarm went off each morning meditating on the dream of the four day work week. It wasn’t that five was too many, even though it totally is. It’s that three is the number of weekend days you need to accomplish all the shit you have to do. With three weekend days, you can have one day for household chores like laundry, grocery shopping and the cursed gym; another for fun; and, crucially, a final for relaxing and/or personal projects, like bird watching or applying to grad school or what have you. Everyone has stuff they need to do that doesn’t align sensibly with these other two days! EVERYONE!
Finally, a world leader has recognized the genius of this plan, which both validates every idea I’ve ever had (including the day last week I dipped a hot dog in melted butter) and confirms that we need to make this a reality, ASAP. Sanna Marin, Finlands’ new Prime Minister, has “demanded a test run” for a four day work week made up of six hour days.
“I believe people deserve to spend more time with their families, loved ones, hobbies and other aspects of life, such as culture. This could be the next step for us in working life,” she said last week.
But even though the benefits of a four day workweek are manifold—increased productivity, less time wasted reading, ahem, blog posts on the internet—the buzzkill Guardian points out it’s probably not going to happen.
Although a shorter working week has many benefits, it is not a magic solution. The Wellcome Trust backtracked on plans for a four-day week, saying it would be “too operationally complex”. Gothenberg dropped its six-hour-day experiment because of increased costs. Bosses worry a shorter working week will create staffing challenges and make it harder to serve customers, while employees worry that working less will make them look lazy.
Why can’t we just be honest with ourselves about how much time we actually spend being productive in an office! Ugh! I’d be angrier, but I’m a freelancer so none of this really impacts me. Sorry you’re squandering your one precious life frying under a fluorescent lamp, bye!