The thought sparked a debate online with many vouching for a longer weekend and better pay to go along with it.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on May 28, 2021. It has since been updated.
It's important to recuperate and recharge after a long working week, not just for your own mental health but also for better productivity. It is for this reason that we have vacations and weekends, so we can reset ourselves and start fresh. Especially during the pandemic, people are becoming increasingly aware of how important mental health is. We need time off to rejuvenate our minds and not give in to mental fatigue. Companies all over the country have been experimenting with shorter working hours and some even with shorter working weeks. Twitter user Kyle Shevlin said it was important to have 3-day weekends for our mental health and happiness, and it resonated with thousands of people online. The tweet went viral with close to 250,000 likes.
We really deserve 3 day weekends.— Kyle Shevlin (@kyleshevlin) May 22, 2021
You need day 1 to do nothing. Recharge after the work week.
You need day 2 for chores. You got shit you gotta get done. We all do.
And you need day 3 for fun & joy. Spend it in a way that makes you happy.
Kyle Shevlin, who's a software engineer and writer from Portland, Oregon, USA, made a case for three-day weekends and explained why it was needed. He said you needed one day to do nothing after a long work week, just to recharge. Then you needed the second weekend day for chores and the third weekend day to do things that you loved doing. He spoke to Bored Panda about his suggestion and about the responses he got to the tweet. “I have been thinking about 3-day weekends and a sub-40-hour work week for a long time. I am someone who loves learning, reading, or listening to whatever I can about economics and the social sciences," he said.
Shelvin says it's important for people to pursue interests outside of work, which helps in the overall development of an individual. "For example, as a software engineer, most of my work involves thinking about problems and synthesizing information into a solution. I find that there are better times during the day than others for me to do this work optimally. There’s a good amount of research about circadian rhythms and their effects on our productivity," said Shelvin, before adding that he realized he achieved his optimal work conditions when he put in just 6 'good hours' each day. He said that anything beyond those hours meant he was working at a sub-optimal level which wasn't desirable.
I’ve had this schedule and it is every bit as good as it sounds. We could run the entire economy just fine (with the fat trimmed) with everyone working four six hour days a week. You get a lot done when your day is shorter and you’re less tired and more fulfilled.— Taylor Alexander (@TLAlexander) May 23, 2021
He added that he wasn't just pushing for his personal preference but many studies supported his theory. Sweden is one of the nations that tried out the six-hour workday. In Gothenburg, 70 nurses had their workday shortened from eight to six hours. The experiment showed that their health was better than those who worked eight-hour shifts. It was also found that they took significantly fewer sick days, had more energy, and were equally productive. This also meant that they had more time on their hands to spend with friends and family, which improved their mental health. Shelvin also added that the world also doesn't need to produce as much as it has been made out. "There’s a subgroup of people who tie their personal self-worth so strongly to their ability to work and produce that they can’t fathom that we can create a world where we don’t need to produce so much,” he said.
* note, I got paid 40 hours for 2 twelves. and it was a very, very long time ago. that kindergartener is now in his 30s.— em 🏳️🌈 (@thebookspage) May 23, 2021
There has been a huge shift in companies' approach to work-life balance in the wake of the pandemic. Many companies introduced reduced work hours and working days to help improve employees' mental health. Awin was one of the companies that actually piloted a four-day working week for the entire company with no cuts in salaries or benefits. “We firmly believe that happy, engaged, and well-balanced employees produce much better work,” said Chief Executive Officer Adam Ross, reported Bloomberg. They “find ways to work smarter, and they’re just as productive.” The Spanish government is planning to subsidize companies that offer a four-day week.
Man, IMHO, 3 day weekends should be the bare minimum. There's no legitimate reason we shouldn't have 4 day weekends. I honestly think THAT is what we should be demanding.— A Simple Bullet Farmer 💣🏦😉 (@echolman) May 23, 2021
When I worked at @CommonCause we would have “green” Fridays in August where we’d work from home. If there was work that needed to be done you’d certainly do it but if not, enjoy your Friday. How about Green Fridays every Friday.— Brooke Erdmann (@BrookeErdmann) May 23, 2021
As a disabled individual, I have to use leave to take 3 day weekends at least once a month. I need that full day of rest and time to deal with healthcare. Without 3 day weekends, I don’t have time or energy to have fun. Fun is important.— Disabled Doctor (@DisabledDoctor) May 23, 2021
Productivity has been increasing for decades and working people have seen none of the benefits. The rich have sucked it all up and wealth inequity has skyrocketed.— Susan Johnson (@SueKae) May 24, 2021
The three-day weekend idea might not be as far-fetched as it sounds, and might not be limited to just a theoretical exercise.