My proposal is to change the 5 day “work week” to a 4.5 day work week. A full week could still be 40 hours long. Let’s shift the norm of 9-5 to 8:30–5:30. Friday’s work hours will be 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. Benefits will be felt by employees, employers, and the economy. An extra half hour before lunch and an extra half hour after lunch seem pretty manageable with half day Fridays as the return. Adults need more time for fun. This will eliminate the 5 day per week routine that seems to drown the sounds of fun as people get older.
Many peers have defined Bucknell work ethic/culture as “work hard, play hard”. This spring I had Thursdays and Fridays free of obligations. I realized that this actually made the “word days” in my week far more productive. I was more consistently motivated and I worked harder Monday through Thursday than previous semesters. My lengthy weekends helped me to feel the separation of work and play. I believe the same effects would be seen in the workplace.
Half day Friday’s would free up a ton of time in people’s lives. They could be used as an errand day to deal with groceries, dry cleaning, and doctor appointments. They could be used as a travel day for the new long weekend. Rather than reaching the beach at 8 on Friday night, you could get there at 3 and feel like you had a whole extra day. They could be used as golf days. It could be used as a day to work on hobbies or new business ideas. Freeing up Friday’s will boost employee morale across the country. Higher morale will create a more motivated, more efficient, more productive worker.
Most of us will likely be working more than 40 hours per week next year. The same idea could still apply. It would make the grind of Monday – Thursday much more manageable. With the 4.5 day work week, the old “work hard, play hard” would become “work harder, play harder”.