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How Small Teams Can Try a Shorter Workweek

It's time to rethink the 40-hour workweek

Will the four-day workweek become the norm within our generation? With growing statistics around the Great Resignation, employees aren’t returning to work in the way expected post-covid-19. In his book Thursday is the New Friday: How to Work Fewer Hours, Make More Money, and Spend Time Doing What You Want, Joe Sanok outlines how we arrived at this point in history, what we each can do internally to thrive, and how slowing down is actually the key to growing productivity and creativity.

In order to fully understand where we are now, we need to go back several thousand years to the Babylonians.  The Babylonians had a unique way of thinking about the universe, all that they saw in the sky that mattered to them was the sun, earth, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. So they started the seven-day work week. The Egyptians had an eight-day week, and the Romans had a ten-day week. In fact the Romans didn’t even switch over to the seven-day week until one of their Emperors converted to Christianity in the 300s.

We start with the fact that time is made up and what we think is normal we actually created. Fast forward to the late 1800s and early 1900s, the average person was working 10 – 14 hours a day six or seven days a week. Then in 1926, Henry Ford started the 40-hour workweek in order to sell more cars to his employees. He thought that people would not buy a car to get to work faster, but instead they would if they had a weekend to go recreate. So even the 40-hour work week, which feels like part of our institution, was completely made up less than a hundred years ago.

Please select this link to read the complete blog post from Skip Prichard.

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