Three Reasons Why Weekends Are Not Meant for Working
In an increasingly competitive world where organizations struggle to outperform each other and technology has taken over, the alternate half-day Saturday workday is becoming less relevant. The days where employees toiled on assembly lines for upwards of 10 hours a day for 6 days are no more.
Employers may argue that the additional work day is crucial to remain competitive and profitable, however in today's modern world, is this practice still relevant for the workforce of the future?
We explore 3 reasons why organizations should eliminate the 6-day work week.
1) Improving employee morale
The 5-day work week originates from a time when Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company implemented the 40-hour, 5-day workweek and paid out higher wages to employees. This was not some altruistic streak but rather a calculated investment made by a shrewd businessman to counteract high employee turnover and poor work quality.
By implementing the 5-day work week and paying out higher wages, Henry Ford ensured that his workers had a much higher quality of life. This immensely improved the morale of the workforce, attracted skilled workers from competitors and significantly reduced employee turnover which in turn reduced production costs significantly.
Although panned by experts in the industry and Wall Street, Ford's gamble paid off as his company was able to flood the market with affordable cars that increased the company's market share from 9.4% in 1908 to a stratospheric 48% in 1914.
Henry Ford's example can be put into place in the modern world today. Employees that work for 5 days are able to spend time pursuing more positive activities like spending time with family, exercising or resting and relaxing. Over the long-term, employees are healthier and happier which reduces employee turnover, disciplinary issues and absenteeism.
All of these means better quality of life for employees which in turn reduces the costs of rehiring employees and reduces downtime from absenteeism.
2) Attracting and retaining top talent
As an employer cum owner, it is tempting to work continuously for 6 days in order to boost efficiency and maximize profits. However, in a time where more and more talented millennials are joining the workforce, an organization with inflexible working hours will find itself hard pressed to attract and retain top quality talent.
This is because of the value that millennials now place on issues like work-life balance and workplace flexibility. Forcing your employees to work even for half a day on alternate Saturdays is a sure way of discouraging talented candidates and ensuring that current employees will be constantly on the lookout for a workplace which places a greater emphasis on work-life balance.
Some parties may argue that offering higher salaries and paying additional allowances to workers will enable the organization to compete for top talent. On the short-term, this may be possible as candidates are attracted by the higher salary offered. However, on the long-term employees may be lured away by other organizations offering similar salaries with the added benefit of more flexible working hours.
Simply put, an organization will be hard-pressed to retain employees in an already very competitive environment. Labour costs are more likely to skyrocket as the organization is forced to offer even higher salaries just to retain current staff.
3) Working more efficiently
According to a study, the average worker is only productive for 3 hours a day with the remaining time spent checking text messages, taking breaks and surfing the internet. This is supported by research which shows that working for more than 8 hours at a time is counter-productive.
In a day and age where most global organizations have adopted the 5-day work week, spending an additional day working on Saturday may not be beneficial at all to productivity. One reason behind this is that most business partners and banks are likely to be closed on weekends, which makes it all the more difficult for any form of work to be accomplished. Building on the first reason, Saturdays are also deemed as easy days where staff can take it easy and accomplish less. This means that an organization has to pay staff extra for a reduced level of productivity.
For example, a local trading company based in Malaysia makes it compulsory for all staff to work until 4pm on Saturdays to support delivery operations. However, in an industry where the staff working on Saturdays are lorry drivers and warehouse workers, the need for administrative staff to work on Saturdays seems to be quite irrelevant.
Consequently, the organization on hand usually faced problems with staff absenteeism on Mondays and Saturdays as staff wanted to make up for their weekend as they were working on Saturday. Hence, organizations need to re-examine their priorities when opting to work for 6-days a week. By allowing staff an additional day of rest, productivity and morale are improved which in turn raises the quality of work produced.
For organizations to remain relevant and competitive, they need to ensure that their employees are happy and healthy. Overworking employees with a 6-day work week serves no benefit and will only increase employee turnover, absenteeism and reduce the quality of work produced.