The rest of the industrialised world just may view Americans as workaholics and with good reason. Dean Schabner of abc news reported that not only do Americans have longer work weeks, but they take less vacation time than English, French, Norwegians, Germans and the Japanese workers.
The concept of forcing American workers to take it a bit easier is nothing new, several private companies have enforced the four-day work-week policy long ago and a few states actually started giving those with jobs in public service an extra day off as well. Everyone who gives this idea a shot, ends up sticking with it. They have all been quite pleased with the results.
Happiness radiating from employees is the first symptom to emerge. It’s amazing what an extra day to spend time with loved ones and engage in personal hobbies can do for a person. Lets face it, usually your first day off is spent running errands and catching up on chores, the second, if you have a family, is usually spent with them. That leaves very little “you time” doesn’t it? With a third day off you can actually recuperate!
With happiness comes productivity believe it or not. You may think giving them more time to forget about the office will hinder their performance but look at it in the reverse way. You’re giving them more time to handle personal issues so they aren’t dragging in their complaints and baggage Monday morning. You just may find a dramatic decrease in personal calls, web surfing and online shopping going on within company walls. When they have less time in the office, they’ll develop a sense of urgency to complete tasks on time.
A healthier team not only means less germs on the door handles, it also means less sick days taken and a house full of people working at their best; no cough syrup clouded minds “typo-ing” away on your reports. You want your staff alert and fully energized which is exactly what they will be with more time to rest, take care of themselves and start actually making those check-up appointments.
Help cut costs and pollution. Think of how much money in overhead most companies could save simply by not opening an additional day each week. The same amount of work will be completed with lower utility costs every month. You’ll also have less morning and evening traffic to battle though. Less time spent traveling means less pollutants pumping out of vehicles and into our atmosphere.
The questions that remain are, why hasn’t this shorter schedule taken off and become the norm by now? Second, why are American’s so determined to work through their hard earned vacation time? Is there a fear of being viewed as lazy? Maybe there are insecurities about someone else slipping in and taking their place while they’re not looking. Or perhaps there’s an escapist mentality sweeping the nation leaving almost everyone incapable of slowing down long enough to really get to know themselves. No matter the motivation behind this hard-core work ethic, there are many more reasons to make part-time the new full-time.
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