Working for the weekend is something I have always thought was an awesome way to relax and enjoy yourself while working on some things that are important to you.
The question I asked myself when making this video is this: Why do people work for the weekend? What is it that they do on those days that they are not working or at their day job? In this short post, we will discuss for it.
What does “Working for the Weekend” Mean?
The idiom “working for the weekend” implies that a person is surviving the work week by concentrating on the weekend.
It is occasionally used to imply that a person is slacking or producing low-quality work because he or she is preoccupied with upcoming fun activities rather than work, and it is also used to imply that a person is dissatisfied with his or her job.
Diverse research have been undertaken to understand more about views regarding work both within and outside the workplace. Even if individuals are satisfied with their occupations, there is evidence that they are happier on the weekends, regardless of whether or not they work for the weekend.
This piece of business jargon is frequently used in regard to office workers, who have rigid schedules and may find their work uninspiring. Working for the weekend is a typical notion among those who view their professions as a means to an end, devoid of additional incentives or joys.
A person who works in this manner may utilize the income to fund weekend and vacation activities, thus working to pay for the weekend.
Compared to those who perceive their occupations as a means to a goal, employees who are happy or who believe their work has purpose are often happier and may also perform better. A person who works on weekends may experience dissatisfaction or boredom at work.
Changing working environments may jolt workplace attitudes and make employees more motivated and invested in their job, therefore lessening the feeling of working for the weekend. Promotions, transfers to new departments, and other workplace modifications, such as the implementation of flexible hours, might make people happier at work and less preoccupied with the weekend.
Regular office work may be arduous, particularly when vacation time is restricted. On Fridays, individuals may feel as though they have earned the weekend following a week of hard work, and the phrase “thank God it’s Friday” may be heard in offices of all sizes as employees discuss their weekend plans and prepare to depart as soon as office hours conclude.
People who feel as though they are working for the weekend may choose to discuss new or alternative job duties with their bosses. People with valuable abilities that are not being utilized may feel especially irritated and restless at work, and they may begin to look forward to the weekend.
The Labour Movement should renew its Demands for a Shorter Workweek
Our communities are disintegrating as a result of capitalism and the abhorrent disparities it generates. Inequality in income has consistently increased in Canada during the previous two decades. The threat of climate change is becoming increasingly apparent, yet environmental regulations are advancing as slowly as melting glaciers.
Despite the fact that Canadian workers are conducting crucial campaigns, such as the Fight for $15, to boost pay for the lowest-paid, the mobilization around better remuneration is only one aspect of the fight against workers’ exploitation.
One of the oldest rallying cries of the labor movement is to decrease the amount of time that people are required to work.
The now-standard 40-hour workweek and eight-hour workday were the result of labor battles. Since the Industrial Revolution, workers in industrialized capitalist nations have advocated for shorter workweeks, in part to escape toxic work circumstances and acquire greater control over life’s joys and obligations.
Professor of history at the University of Southern California Steven J. Ross notes that the reduction in labor hours was gradual:
“During the 1830s, wage earners demanded to work ten hours instead of the more customary twelve hours; during the 1860s, they demanded to work eight hours instead of ten hours; during the 1880s they demanded to work five and a half days instead of six days; and during the 1930s, they demanded a thirty hour, five day work week.”
For individuals performing alienated labor in factories and other industrialized enterprises, reduced hours were viewed as reward for tiresome and potentially dangerous work.
The now-standard 40-hour workweek and eight-hour workday were the result of labor battles.
Midway through the 1940s, United Automobile Workers (UAW) members demanded 30 hours of work for 40 hours of compensation.
The demand made the labor bureaucracy apprehensive about upsetting the post-war labor consensus, which on the one hand had preserved its collective bargaining rights, but on the other hand had restrained union dissent.
The economic downturn of the 1950s dampened the radical desire for a shorter workday, and the UAW finally settled for greater salaries rather than a shorter workweek.
Despite the Haymarket Massacre of 1886 in Chicago, in which striking workers were brutally repressed for their demand of an eight-hour workday, many people continue to labor far longer than eight hours every day to make ends meet.
Reducing the workweek can bring conventional labor together with environmentalists, feminists, students, and community organizations. This demand can significantly reduce carbon emissions and enhance our health.
Examining the 40-hour workweek and the eight-hour day raises important concerns about how we value our time, our paid and unpaid labor, and leisure in general.
Linda Duxbury and Christopher Higgins reviewed their past national research on the Canadian work-life balance (conducted in 1991 and 2001) in 2011. The study by Duxbury and Higgins was weighted toward highly educated, higher-earning professionals and managers.
They discovered that the average responder spent 50,2 hours per week on work-related tasks. Just over half of the employees questioned acknowledged bringing work home after hours. Unsurprisingly, the study also revealed substantial increases in stress and losses in mental and physical health.
To achieve a more realistic work-life balance, Duxbury and Higgins advocated for flexible work arrangements and a reorganization of job allocation.
Against compression and pay cuts
John Maynard Keynes, an economist, anticipated a 15-hour weekday by 2030 in the 1930s. Although we are a long way from achieving this objective, the concept of flexible working arrangements has gained traction globally, albeit frequently with conditions.
Several European nations, notably France, the Netherlands, and Germany, have enacted legislation mandating shorter hours, while others have experimented with shorter workdays and workweeks. From 2015 to 2017, enterprises in Sweden engaged in an experiment to cut the workday to six hours, with mixed results.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, as a result of two recessions, there was a surge of interest in reducing the workweek in Canada. Human Resources Development Canada issued the Advisory Group on Working Time and the Distribution of Work’s conclusions in 1994. 35 percent of respondents chose a shorter workday over early retirement and longer breaks, as determined by the task group.
As economist Armine Yalnizyan, who worked on the advisory committee, says, “the study was overshadowed by the government’s aggressive state-cutting initiative,” making Canada “the poster child for austerity” and putting an end to the concept of dispersing work time.
Recent work time reduction attempts have been mostly market-driven and employer-funded. In Canada, one such scheme involves workers “earning” vacation days by working greater hours over fewer days. Alternately, workers can take a salary reduction for fewer hours worked (Amazon reportedly offered its staff a 20–25% pay cut in exchange for a day off).
Worksharing arrangements are frequently lauded as an ethical means of preventing layoffs. Despite the fact that none of these choices reduces labor hours without reducing earnings, they are supported by “job creators” posing as benefactors.
Where firms use a four-day workweek, such as the British company Think Productive, employees are still forced to work an additional hour each day and a full five-day week once per month.
There are some marginally superior examples of workweek reduction. The software startup Basecamp (previously 37signals) employs a “seasonal approach” consisting of a 32-hour workday from May to August. In France, as a result of the recession of the early 1990s, Hewlett-Packard maintained its facility operating 24 hours a day, increasing production, while employees worked less hours on shifts without a wage cut.
Italy, along with other European nations, has considered a four-day workweek: a lawmaker in northern Italy calculated that enacting such a policy would create 200,000 employment in his region alone.
However, employer-initiated concessions are not the same as legally established and universally accessible worker-won labor rights. Neither do they modify workers’ power over their labor; rather, they safeguard circumstances that promote capitalists’ output.
Reorganizing the current 40-hour norm of work time has reinforced the notion that there is no alternative: fewer hours are accompanied by lower compensation. A successful campaign for a shortened workweek necessitates the abandonment of certain value assumptions. The prevalent inclination of neoclassical economics is to see labor and leisure as discrete, mathematically stable entities.
Tom Walker, a labour studies lecturer at Simon Fraser University, argues that the “lump of labour” theory of work, in which each hour produces an equal amount of productivity and each hour of leisure equates to idleness, is a fallacy based on the assumption that “a worker sells… 24 hours to the employer and buys back 16 hours of leisure at the same rate the employer pays him for the 24 hours.” Not reflective of how job is accomplished.
Walker adds that neoclassical economists such as Léon Walras defended “the notion that leisure is essentially valuable to the individual enjoying it.” Consequently, being unemployed is equivalent to going to the beach. We face a wholly fictitious economic system.”
Walker is extremely critical of the culpability of many economists in maintaining and perpetuating the framework that “for regular working people, what they face is a predetermined set of salaries and hours… If you earn $15 per hour and work a 40-hour workweek, the prospect of working less hours is terrifying because you cannot afford your rent. […] Economists have reaffirmed the assumption that current employer compensation represents the market rate.”
Time as a feminist issue
Transforming work time is not about generating “empty” time or idleness – after all, non-work time is not often synonymous with leisure, as women who undertake unpaid domestic labor throughout the world are well aware.
In Finland (one of the first nations to implement the eight-hour day and to experiment with the six-hour weekday between 1996 and 1998), economists Ellen Mutari and Deborah Figart discovered that decreased work hours benefited the lives of working women.
“The ability to manage work and family obligations is a precondition for gender equality,” they stated. This method tends to establish female work ghettos, such as part-time and low-paying positions in secretarial, cleaning, and food-service industries. In contrast, reducing the workweek for everyone produces decent jobs for working individuals.
” In 1988, feminist activist and professor Marilyn Waring presented a foundational concept of feminist economics: time, rather than GDP as measured by the market, is a far more realistic method to quantify and value the unpaid labour that women undertake across the world. (For other examples of Waring’s work, check the 1995 NFB documentary Who’s Counting? Sex, Lies, and International Economics)
Uncompensated caregiving labor, which is predominantly conducted by women and has long been referred to as the second shift, exacerbates gendered job exploitation. In addition, women report greater levels of stress and sadness, work absence, and healthcare visits. Therefore, reducing labor hours is a feminist necessity.
Working less for the planet
Peter Victor, a Canadian economist, argues in his book, Managing Without Growth: Slower by Design, not Disaster, that a shorter workweek and redistribution of labor are also crucial components of the answer to climate change. Experiments conducted in several U.S. communities shown that reducing the workweek by one day considerably reduced carbon emissions and energy use.
David Rosnick of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC, found in a 2013 research that cutting labor hours by an average of 0.5% each year over the next century “would eliminate around a quarter to half of the global warming that is not already locked in” (i.e. warming that would be caused by 1990 levels of greenhouse gas concentrations already in the atmosphere).
Rosnick’s model is predicated on the premise that productivity increases would be distributed and income inequality will decrease, suggesting that workers will not be harmed by the reduction. Societies with money hoarders, such as ours, require a bigger revolution in how we see both paid and unpaid labor.
Work time may be the next step after addressing the conditions of the most exploited employees in our society, as Yalnizyan cautions: “The first part of the discourse must be the financial worth of an hour’s labor… increasing awareness on the value of all work. People are not compensated enough, especially the lowest paid.”
The call for decreased work hours may sound like an unachievable fantasy, but Yalnizyan believes that as the austerity agenda unfolds, it’s a good moment to start a dialogue about time usage and to dust off the programs that were moving us in that direction prior to the state’s change to austerity.
“In the future decade, there will be a labor shortage, and individuals will require time,” she adds. Reducing our working hours, in addition to fighting for higher salaries, not only weakens capitalist exploitation, particularly of women and carers, but also addresses components of the climate change strategy and provides us with possibilities to organize and oppose oppressions on other fronts.
The demand for a shorter workweek is rooted in the combative past of organized labor. In the context of the history of international labor, we should explore this battle once again.
The weekend is the time when we can rest and recharge. But it also means we get the chance to work. You don’t have to do more than 10 hours of work to be productive in the weekend. But if you are constantly burning out, you may not be giving yourself enough time to truly rest and relax.
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