Are weekends a good idea?
August 28, 2005 8:23 AM   Subscribe

Have there been any studies into whether weeks and weekends are a good idea? Are there better ways once could organize time on and time off?

(I'm unemployed and working on some personal projects, and am finding observing weekends completely stupid)
posted by cillit bang to Society & Culture (13 answers total)
shiftwork over the entire week is a reality for many millions.
posted by amberglow at 8:58 AM on August 28, 2005

This wikipedia entry explains the history of the weekend, what it meant for workers and the economy, and why it has begun to fade importance.
posted by defenestration at 9:00 AM on August 28, 2005

In some companies (this is more common in europe, I'm told) workers work a 12 hour day, 3 or 4 days a week instead of an 8 hour day 5 or 6 days a week.

Personally I'd rather work 3 days a week @ 12 hours than the standard 8 hours a day, but oh well...
posted by shepd at 9:10 AM on August 28, 2005

Everyone should take at least a couple of days off in a row each week to come down from the job and enjoy non-work. Also, a tradition of Saturday-Sunday weekends (though it could be any other two or more consecutive days of the week) helps to keep everyone's off-time in sync so you and your family and friends can spend free days together, and so events such as concerts can be scheduled for when most people have a free day to attend them.
posted by pracowity at 9:15 AM on August 28, 2005

As a youth, I recall reading in a magazine (think Highlights, or maybe there was a 3-2-1 Contact! magazine?) that at one point someone ("The East Germans", I think) experimented with a "metric week" of five days, where everyone worked 4 and had one off. The population was divided into 5 color-coded groups, and it was very inconvenient if you were blue group with day one off and your wife was red group with day three off.

This always stuck with me because it illustrated how random and arbitrary our 7-day weeks are, but I'm sure most of not all of the details I described above have become mixed in my memory, and might not have been accurate to begin with.
posted by sohcahtoa at 9:20 AM on August 28, 2005

Oh, and I meant to include this link.
posted by sohcahtoa at 9:21 AM on August 28, 2005

Should I ever become king of America, I'll make the 28-hour day law. And that's probably the only way it'll ever happen, sadly.
posted by jewzilla at 3:51 PM on August 28, 2005

Are there better ways once could organize time on and time off?

Well, certainly the European/Middle Eastern model. Generally long lunches every day, three day weekends, and a month of vacation every year. This has certainly been supported to create more productive workers, and less strain on health care since there are less accidents.
posted by scazza at 4:28 PM on August 28, 2005

Pardon me for being a little anecdotal, but think I heard about an experimental system created in Sweden, where nurses and other health industry workers would work three days and get three days off.

If I recall correctly, after an initial breaking-in period, it greatly diminished worker sick leave, and enhanced worker satisfaction.

It is possibly easier to implement in an industry where weekend work to some extent is the norm, i.e. health etc.
posted by AwkwardPause at 6:05 PM on August 28, 2005

I've gone months without weekends (I think 4 months at a time was the longest) and now I really appreciate them. I love weekends! Before I didn't really care, and that's probably how I ended up working so many weekends. Now I try to synchronize my life around the rest of the world, and it's just really easy if you're having a day off on the same day as everyone else!
But even now, some weekends I think that one day off would have been enough.
posted by easternblot at 7:21 PM on August 28, 2005

We need Sunday for football.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:40 AM on August 29, 2005

I would think that the exclusion of Saturday and Sunday from work is more a religious construct.
I've always felt weekends needed to be longer. I don't ever get the benefit of a complete weekend since I spend a good part of Sunday dreading heading back in to the office on Monday morning.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:11 AM on August 29, 2005

The junior nurses I know work 13 x 12 hour shifts per month - mixture of nights and days. The more senior nurses I know are very relieved not to have to do that any more. (UK NHS)
posted by altolinguistic at 9:53 AM on August 29, 2005

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