Adopting a three-day weekend

For over six months, I have worked four days a week, Monday through Friday, and enjoy a 3-day weekend. I am very fortunate that my current employer, and my team, enable me to do this. A flex schedule is something available to many, but few take advantage of this.

I also work from home and have been doing that full-time since 2014. It took a lot of effort to get used to working from home, especially when you have children and your spouse also works from home. But after some struggle and adjustment, it works. The current flex schedule makes working from home even better. It opens up many opportunities to travel with the family, practice more hobbies, or maybe spend more time on existing hobbies.

Working four days a week instead of five took a while to adjust as well. I still have to fight the need to check my work email, Slack, etc. I still feel guilty for doing this, and while my output and quality haven’t been affected negatively, it is still hard to fully enjoy having Fridays off. But why? I think it has been engraved into my mind that to be productive and fair with your employer and co-workers, you need to work at least five days a week.

Working only four days a week instead of five has opened many opportunities for my family and me. For example, we’ve been able to travel to visit our older kids who live in New York City more often than before. We can take long weekend trips to places like Vancouver, Portland, and even California (we live in Seattle). Having Fridays off has given me the additional time to pursue other interests, such as writing and photography.

Working four days a week instead of five also gives me more time to relax and do nothing. It makes me start the week with more energy, a fresher mind, and enthusiasm every week. In other words, the burnout might still be there, but it is much less than before.

The future of work might be people working at any time and any day as they seem necessary. But while we get there, I think adopting a three-day weekend is feasible for most companies and jobs. Maybe we are on the brink of changing the workweek standard from five days to four weeks. In my experience, it will be better for everyone. It will give families more time to spend with each other, more time for people to pursue hobbies and other activities not related to their jobs, an opportunity to travel more, etc.

A little bit of history… In 1908, a New England cotton mill instituted the first five-day workweek in the United States so that Jewish workers would not have to work on the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. In 1926, Henry Ford began shutting down his automotive factories all Saturday and Sunday due to pressures stemming from the October Revolution, which witnessed the ruling class persecuted for not giving the laborers dignifying conditions. In 1929, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America was the first union to demand and receive a five-day workweek. The rest of the United States slowly followed. Still, it was not until 1940, when a provision of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act mandating a maximum 40-hour workweek went into effect, that the two-day weekend was adopted nationwide.

Maybe it will be in this decade when more people and more companies adopt the three-day weekend as the new standard. It will be a step towards having a more flexible work schedule overall. It is what the future of work will require. Then, finally, people have more flexibility and more time to do more than just one job to earn an income. But only time will tell. I am excited about this.

Have a nice Saturday!

Does anyone still work?

The day-in-the-life trend has taken over social media apps like YouTube and TikTok. This is nothing new. People sharing their day-in-the-life videos often show a very relaxed day in which they wake up, have a nice breakfast, have an easy commute to work, get some elaborated caffeinated drink before sitting at their desks, work for a few minutes, and then walk around campus, chatting with other people, getting what appears a free lunch, snacks, etc.

Then they show themselves back at their desks, going for a walk, a run, a yoga class, getting juice, another coffee, etc. The whole thing is extraordinary, and it is not what most people think of as work and not the work experience most people have, especially those watching these videos. But in reality, the work they are doing is the video itself, the content is the result of that work, it’s entertainment, and that is someone’s work.

While many people continue to admire and probably feel jealous about these videos, there are also many people now who are cynic and are calling them out, saying things like “does anyone work anymore?”, “We deserve a recession,” etc.

I have always seen these videos as entertainment, nothing more than just people oversharing and exaggerating their work experience or even faking it a bit. Many companies, especially tech companies, offer food, snacks, plush work environments, etc. But it is also true that there is a lot of work to do, and a day-in-the-life video of a regular day wouldn’t look like what you see in these videos. It’s entertainment, and we all should see it as such.

But these videos show us, once again, how people are eager to be liked, recognized, and even envied by other people, mostly strangers. Also, many people who watch these videos believe that this is real life and that those people’s lives are perfect. Trust me; no one has a perfect life.

It’s entertainment, but too many people see it as real life, which is the problem. Please think of this, when you are enjoying a moment or an entire day in your life, the last thing you’ll think of doing is recording it. You’d be so into the things you are doing, the people you are with, and the food or drinks you enjoy that there is no time to pick up a camera and record a video for TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, etc.

Now, capturing moments and even your day with a camera is fine. Nothing wrong with that. But people believe these videos are examples of people’s everyday lives, which can be a problem.

Who’s here to blame? I don’t know. People could enjoy these videos for what they are, entertainment, and not let themselves compare their everyday life with the ones portrayed in these videos. Just like we don’t compare ourselves with those superheroes from Marvel movies – I hope no one is.

We all have interesting things in our lives, interesting people, and interesting things that we do. We need to understand that. So let’s open our eyes and enjoy ourselves as much as possible. A day-in-the-life video is that person’s vision of a perfect day from their perspective.

It’s even possible that the best part of the day for the person who posted the video is not what they showed, but the time after they post the video and wait for views and likes to arrive.

So, does anyone work anymore? Yes, most people still do—even that girl from the video in the screenshot above. We do work to get what we want, such as money, status, followers, credibility, fame, etc. We work to achieve our goals, whatever they might be. But, our work shouldn’t be what others want it to be or their idea of what work is.

Do we deserve another recession? No, we don’t. What we deserve is a decent government that works for its citizens.

Regardless of whether or not you like these videos, the truth is that work will continue to evolve, and more people will continue to explore getting paid to do their own thing, using the tools available to them, like social media, our smartphones, etc.

The idea of working at an office, looking down at a computer for hours on end, that’s disappearing. And we need to accept that. Of course, the future of work is different, but that’s a conversation for another day.

I hope you have a pleasant day.