Why the 5-Day Working Week Is Not That Bad

Anyone who regularly keeps up with current affairs globally has probably noticed a new story regarding the Greek economy. In an attempt to meet the incredibly stern requirements needed to successfully receive a second bailout, the governing body of the Mediterranean island have been pushed to do something so horrible, so downright terrifying, that any squeamish person should cease reading this article this very moment and go to their happy place.They are considering introducing a six-day working week.The very sound of the sentence above leaves a bitter taste on the lips of any who speak it. It’s easy to complain about the five-day working week when it becomes draining and routine, but the contemporary masses seem to have forgotten that we should be grateful that it’s only five. We need to dive back in time to where the working week has come from, and, more importantly, why today’s system is a hell of a lot better than what it once was.So who actually invented the five-day week? After all, does it not seem like something that has existed since the beginning of time, an unwritten rule so embedded within us that it almost stands as an axiom of the human race? Well, no actually. It’s not even been going for a century yet. Until 1914, pretty much everyone had no choice but to subscribe to six-days a week – at nine hours a day. That means our standard forty-hour week bloats into a hideous sixty-three, over half-a-week extra of working time.”Who was our mighty liberator?” you ask. Well, the answer may come as something as a surprise. Rather than coming as the decision of a governing body or a union of workers, it actually originated with Henry Ford, the man who also gave us the car. Ford was frustrated with losing good employees and, subsequently, losing money, so he made a radical move. He shaved an hour of work off each day, and gave his workers Saturday off too, with almost double pay.Some people were awestruck by his generosity, others by his stupidity, and some genuinely concerned that he might have lost the plot. However, in the end, Ford’s tactic paid off – employee loyalty skyrocketed, as did productivity, and eventually Ford’s profits were outrageous. Other employers looked towards him as an innovator and, frankly, a really rich guy, and it made sense to adopt his technique.And so slowly, the five-day week become a global phenomenon.Can you imagine waking up every Saturday knowing that you had to get up and head back into the office again? The beauty of the five-day week is what is often called ‘Hump Day’, the cherry on the cake, the peak at midday every Wednesday when one can bask in the realization that half of the week is completed, that they are ‘over the hump’. There’s no hump in a six-day week. And that is why it is an abomination.So remember, five days a week isn’t actually that bad. In fact, it’s good for our psychology. Work gets a lot harder when we never do any of it, because we can’t develop a proper routine. Five days is the perfect point between over- and under-working. Let’s take solace in that.I mean, it could be worse. You could live in Greece.

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