Study Finds Three Reasons Why Having 3-Day Weekends Every Week Is Good For Business

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Three day weekends are the best. Not only do you get the extra 50% but your work week is shorter. It’s a win-win.

I’ve seen studies of startup CEOs in America who have tinkered with their company’s calendar to ensure employees get at least one 3-day weekend per month. So on months when there isn’t a holiday that aligns with a 3-day weekend the employees automatically get one. But I’ve never seen anything quite as radical as what this study below calls for: every single week should be a 4-day work week with a 3-day weekend.

The new study from Oxford University found that employees working 4-day weeks every week were happier, more motivated, that they made more sales, and that they procrastinated less.

None of this is surprising, at least not for how it relates to my own work life. On 4-day work weeks I’ve still got plenty of things I need to get done for the 5th/6th/7th day. The world of online publishing never sleeps. When we have 4-day work weeks I find that I bust my ass that much harder to get it all done before the long weekend, and I also find that I’m able to unplug more from the Internet on long weekends than I am on a typical 2-day weekend.

So what exactly did the study find? Lindsay Dodgson of Business Insider reports:

Over six months, associate professor of economics and strategy Jan-Emmanuel De Neve studied the happiness and productivity of 5,000 call centre workers from 20 BT offices. Workers were asked to rate their happiness every week on a scale from one to five.

The results showed how a four day week was correlated with more positivity, an increased number of calls made, and a better quality of calls when customer satisfaction was measured, the Telegraph reports. There were also fewer absences and more sales made.

This might suggest that having a three day weekend could improve work-life balance, as employees would have more opportunity to unwind, instead of feeling like they run out of time with the current system.

“I would argue the four day working week is spot on in terms of finding or striking that right balance between improving the work-life balance and unlocking the happiness potential from that in terms of productivity gains,” De Neve told The Telegraph. “This outweighs the net reduction in productivity from working a day less.” (via B.I.)

More positivity (1), increased number of calls made over 5-day work weeks (2), a measured better quality of calls/better work output (3), more sales (4), and fewer absences (5).

How the hell are we not talking about this more? Obviously, this couldn’t apply to every field. But if nurses can only work 3-days a week and get paid well why can’t the rest of us work our asses off for 4 days a week and get paid the same as we are now if the quality of output goes up?

People are always reluctant to change, it’s the human way. Just because we see something work on paper it doesn’t mean that we’re willing to adapt. If we were willing to change than cannabis would already be completely legal recreationally across America and we would’ve fixed the health care system decades ago so that Americans don’t go broke anytime they get sick. But we’re set in our ways.

This study won’t get everyone to change to a 4-day work week. But if we can get this study to spread so that more business owners and CEOs are aware of the data then it’s at least the first step in getting people to realize that just because we’ve always worked 5-days it doesn’t mean we should.

Side note: I’m still bitter about this 5-day work week bullshit because it’s my great great grandmother who is partially responsible for its popularity in America. Henry Ford is widely credit with creating the ‘5-Day Work Week’ in America but he didn’t institute that until 1914. My great great grandmother was the CEO of Knox Gelatin Company (it used to be a big deal but you can still buy it at the grocery store) and in 1913 she instituted the 5-day work week along with 2-weeks paid vacation and paid sick leave for her employees, a year before Henry Ford.

I really wish I could just go back in time and be like ‘gram, quit yer bullshit’ but that’s not possible. What is possible is sharing the news that a 4-day work week every single week is beneficial for productivity and quality of output.

For more on this story you can follow the link to read Business Insider. Or you can click here for a direct link to the study.