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We should work four days a week and get three days off - My 2 Cents

Who decided we should work five days a week and have a shorter weekend? WFMY News 2's Maddie Gardner tackles time and productivity and gives her '2 Cents.'

GREENSBORO, N.C. — It's time for 'My 2 Cents.'

Now, let me just preface this by saying my coworkers and I truly love our jobs but everyone needs a break at some point.

With that in mind, there's a point during every work week when someone says - why do we work five days and only get two days off? I mean, without fail, I will hear this from someone.

So finally, I did the research and learned a lot about time and productivity to answer this question once and for all.

Where did the five-day work week come from? It was actually an attempt at giving people time off of working seven days a week. In 1908 a mill in New England became the first American factory to give people two days off. They wanted to accommodate Jewish workers who observed the sabbath on Saturday. Sunday was a day off for Christians to observe their day of rest and worship.

Soon other factories followed and by the Great Depression the two-day weekend was cemented as a way to help with underemployment.

Now, more than a century later, we are still following this blueprint even though very smart people who think about this a lot say it may not be the best for productivity. More research is emerging that says a shorter workweek would lead to increased output, better health and higher employee-retention rates.

Sure, some companies are already trying out four days on, three days off but it's hardly common practice. Those who experiment with longer weekends say they have higher morale and fewer call outs. They say when people are at work, quality improves and people tend to work harder. Think about them giving it their all during a sprint knowing it will be over soon. Employees still complete 40 hours - they just do it in fewer days.

To be honest, I don't think we will see a big change, we are set in our ways and society is set up around a five day workweek between business hours and school days. But - if we did make the switch, wouldn't now be a good time to do it? Coming out of a pandemic, working and learning from home, and open to adjustments?

That's just 'My 2 Cents.'

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