The weekend — two days meant to kick back, relax or spend time with family and friends.
This may be the purpose of Saturday and Sunday but all too often these days can turn into time spent in a whirlwind of catching up on work, homework, errands or other responsibilities.
Many people spend the majority of their time at work or school during the week. For students, time spent studying and stressing about the upcoming week tends to occupy the weekend, as well.
In America, being a workaholic is praised. Information from the International Labour Organization shows that Americans work more than people in any other economically developed country and they have fewer vacations and longer work hours.
Working more than the typical 40-hour work week is not healthy.
Many Americans sacrifice their own mental health and time that could be spent with family or friends because they feel they need to focus on a project over the weekend so as to not fall behind.
Additionally, allowing work and school to be a priority over someone’s health is now a so- cial norm in America. There is simply not enough time in a two-day weekend to take care of oneself, prepare for work the next week, study and spend meaningful time with others.
If corporations decided to change their work week from five days to four, Americans would have more time to not only accomplish things they would like to get done but also have more free time that could be spent with loved ones or taking care of oneself mentally, physically and emotionally.
The concept of a four-day work week has already been tested in New Zealand. In early 2018, a team of researchers conducted an eight-week study regarding job-life balance at the company Perpetual Study.
The researchers changed the work week from five days to four, while still giving workers five days of pay.
The results of the study were positive, with statistics demonstrating an increase in teamwork and productivity at work as well as overall life satisfaction.
There was also a decrease in stress levels because people felt they were more able to balance the stress of work and life.
Finding balance can be a struggle for many people and eliminating a day out of the work week could help people not feel drained from their jobs and even look forward to going to work.
The country of New Zealand has not entirely embraced the concept of a four-day work week yet but the CEO of Perpetual Study, Andrew Barnes, said in an interview with CNN he has already suggested to the company’s board that the four- day work week become a permanent solution.
Barnes added he hopes this experiment will be an example for other companies around the world.
Corporations in the United States should follow the example set by Perpetual Study and start utilizing a four- day work week. However, even if this never be- comes a standard in the workplace, the unhealthy, workaholic culture needs to change.
People must realize there is more to life than work deadlines.
While your job will most likely always be there the next day, you never know the last opportunity you will have to spend quality time with someone or do something more enjoyable.
Stop prioritizing work over your own well-being. If we all practice healthier habits by setting boundaries in our jobs, there is a chance positive solutions will be made both in the workplace as well as in our individual lives.