Five Days a Week

posted November 20, 2009 by daniel

Seven is a lucky number and seven days in a week is a good number, but working five days in a row is too much. Have you ever wished it was Friday already? What if weeks were five days long -- three days of work followed by two days of rest? Perhaps it wouldn't work for a primitive hunter-gatherer society, but for a modern society where much of the work is done by machines, we can afford to rest, and with the complexity of modern life we certainly need it. However, if you really like your work or feel guilty about not working, perhaps three days seems like too little work and too many holidays. Consider that in 35 days there are five seven-day weeks, which means five weekends for a total of 10 holidays. In the same 35-day period there would be seven five-day weeks, which means seven weekends for a total of 14 holidays. That means a five-day week would add just four extra holidays every 35 days (just over a month). Four extra days off means you don't have to feel guilty about not working or worry much about lost income -- and three-day work weeks would reduce stress. Just imagine if every work week started on Wednesday!

Why change the way things have always been? If we have seven-day weeks, there must be a good reason for it, right? Stop and think for a moment -- what exactly are those reasons?

Let's think a bit more about how the five-day week compares to the seven-day week. Four five-day weeks adds up to 30 days, which matches the average length of a month. On the other hand, four seven-day weeks adds up to 28 days which only matches February on non-leap years. Five-day weeks add up to exactly 73 weeks in a year, whereas there are 52.142 seven-days weeks in 365 days. There would be 146 holidays in a year of five-day weeks, compared to 104 holidays in a year of seven-day weeks, which means an extra 42 holidays a year. If you feel guilty taking that much time off work you can always work an extra hour or two during the three day week to make yourself feel better and let the machines do the extra work for you -- that's what they were built for.