The Mathematics of “3 Day Weekend = 4 Working Days” in the Long-Run

3 Day Weekend

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Can a ‘‘3 day weekend’ be used as an antidote against the brooding corporate shenanigans?

Currently, designated work hours have become an antique relic due to the pandemic-induced remote working. The 9-5 culture is slowly becoming a thing of the past as numerous companies are transitioning towards an asynchronous way of working. Owing to the distress induced by the pandemic, companies began implementing flexible and extended work hours (at the comfort of people’s homes).

Now that we are slowly re-rafting toward a hybrid scenario (normalcy blended with COVID-19 norms and digitization), the conventional work culture is gradually restoring. However, the new situation did not come bearing any fruits but highlighted the reality of the infamous corporate domain. Continuous meetings, sleepless nights, unpleasant mornings threw light on the greater pressure hovering over the heads of people.

What is a Three Day Weekend?

Amidst the compounding trials and tribulations of the exponential pressure, Google implemented the three day weekend for its employees. In Sep 2020, the tech giant decided to give its employees an extra day off in order to avoid burnout and to ensure the Collective Well-being of its staff as well as its interns. Although a much-needed move, it gave rise to several questions on aspects such as productivity, the ability to meet deadlines, motivation, and much more. This also raised the question of whether a three day weekend can prove beneficial in the long run and can be further implemented for future purposes?

A three day weekend is basically a long weekend. It lasts for three days due to a public or unofficial holiday occurring on either the following Monday or preceding Friday. So, how can a three day long weekend be beneficial in terms of aspects such as productivity, motivation, mental wellbeing?

The maths behind ‘3 day weekend’

‘Monday Blues’ and ‘Sluggish Fridays’ are not mere corporate buzzwords. After a long week, people desperately look forward to compensating for the sleep and energy loss throughout the week. Every single corporate employee envisions a long weekend. After the hustles and grinds of the week, people look forward to a weekend that does not pass away in the blink of an eye, but rather lingers for a significant duration. Every corporate employee looks forward to spending more than just ‘considerable amount of time’ with their family and friends. Moreover, they also aspire to indulge in their preferred leisure activities while inculcating new habits and hobbies during the weekends.

The dreadful feeling of Mondays is a scientific fact. With increasing work-induced stress and pressure, the implementation of a three day weekend appears to be an effective solution.

  • According to studies, the two-day weekends disrupt the circadian rhythm—the body’s internal clock that directs the sleep cycles.

When we catch up on lost or missed sleep during the weekends, studies prove that the two days of relaxation are enough for impacting our circadian rhythm. This has the potential to affect our mood and mental capabilities when we snap back our regular rhythm on a Monday morning, making us feel groggy, tired, and irritable. With an extra weekend day, we have more time to sleep, relax and adjust for the week ahead.

  • During a three day weekend trial at a New Zealand company, it was revealed that the staff stress levels decreased by 7%.

Why Incorporate ‘Three Day Weekend’?

As per a study, about two-thirds of Americans reported that the main source of their stress is work. Upon further analysis, it was revealed that work-induced stress resulted in more health complications. The three day weekend can be connected to decreasing time off solicitations by 9% and expanding general efficiency. The concept is blossoming in developed countries such as Japan, the UK, France, and Sweeden—with numerous organizations executing 3 free day activities and letting workers pick either Friday or Monday for propping the workplace five days per week. 

Getting the much-required rest has its proven benefits. These include boosting inventiveness to higher profitability, improved wellbeing. However, returning to the workplace to discover a plethora of uninitiated messages, schedule welcomes and approaching deadlines can make the possibility of setting week-long office messages more distressing.

Following are some of the proven benefits of three day weekend:

  • Long weekends can potentially increase our attention span. In this digital era, our attention span has vehemently reduced to the kind of content we consume on a regular basis. According to studies, our attention span for digital tasks is 40 seconds and it takes approximately 16 minutes to refocus on a task at hand after addressing incoming emails. An easy solution to this problem can be more breaks in the form of an extra day on the weekend for practicing mindfulness and returning to work with a refreshed mind.
  • An average employee checks their emails 36 times per hour. Studies suggest that the time spent in checking and replying to emails is not equivalent or is less than the time spent on being productive. Longer weekends and short workweeks can compel organizations and employees in being more devoted towards their work and engage in productive activities while allocating designated time for secondary tasks such as emails, filling sheets, and others.

Chronological Analysis of Microsoft’s Three Day Weekend:

  • On 24 July 2019, Microsoft Japan started the ‘Work Life Choice Challenge 2019 Summer’, an in-house practical project centered on 4 days a week & 3 days a week.
  • Under the challenge, the company allowed four days of work per week, enabling employees to enjoy a three day weekend and offering a normal, five-day paycheck.
  • The three day weekends for employees at Microsoft showed impressive results, along with boosted productivity.
  • When the company concluded its month-long challenge, it found that productivity levels have nearly skyrocketed 40% in the month of August.
  • During the month of reduced workweeks, the company observed a 39.9% rise in sales per employee in comparison to August 2018.
  • During the challenge, meetings were reduced to a span of 30 minutes, and employees hosted more remote conferences.
  • About 2300 of Microsoft’s employees largely supported the better work-life balance—with 92.1% saying that they enjoyed the four-day system.
  • The shorter workweek also saved the company money with the firm using 23.1% less electricity and 58.7% less paper.

“Three Day Weekend = 4 Day Workweek”

Google’s and Microsoft’s three day weekend work models are evidence to the fact that a four day workweek can prove highly beneficial for boosting employee productivity. A three day weekend can not only psychologically boost employees’ morale but also help them recover and devote time towards their physical wellbeing. The studied and proven benefits of a three day weekend imply the benefits of the concept for the future of the employees.

However, there are several cons to the concept as well. A three day weekend can trigger employees to compress their work hours in order to complete them within the designated time. While a five-day workweek enables workers a stretch in working and pursuing their work, a four-day workweek might disgruntle many customers.

Several developed and developing countries are adopting the three day weekend work model in order to saturate the work culture and environment. Overall studies and researches on the concept of three day weekend show that it has multidimensional benefits. Moreover, if executed in a strategic manner, a three day weekend working model can bear several fruitful results for the employees as well as the organizations.

The Concluding Note: Why Focus on Healthy Work Environment?

Concepts like the three day weekend can readily improve the well-being of the employees in the long run. Such concepts not only have the potential of bettering the corporate lifestyle of employees but can also boost their mental as well as physical well-being. On average, numerous employees feel dreadful within their office premises almost every day. Hence, such concepts, when implemented, can vastly improve the above notion.

Moreover, corporates should comprehensively focus on the well-being of their employees—on the grounds of physical, emotional and mental health. Organizations cannot afford regular and consequent absenteeism of their employees as loss of workdays directly translates into declining profitability. Additionally, lack of motivation or enthusiasm results in higher cases of unproductivity (when compared to employees who are wilful and surrounded by a healthy work atmosphere). Various studies and researches have proved that employers lose Billions of Dollars of revenue due to employee ill-health and thus, this reasons enough for them to take the issue of employee health and wellbeing seriously. The prime focus should be incorporating measures and amending policies that not only target improving sales and revenue of an organization but also sternly focus on employee wellbeing. The latter can be achieved through healthy workplace habits and motivational practices.

It can be thereby concluded that “A healthier workplace is infectious and boosts all-around productivity.”

Read Full Magazine here: The Best Companies to watch for 2022

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