We are moving towards a continuous work week


Work-life balance update

In 1929, the Soviet Union changed the seven-day system to Neprevka Or “continuous work week”. Workers are divided into five groups, with a five-day cycle, staggered rest days, so that production will not stop. It has become common for people to color-code their friends in their address book based on the days of their rest.

It is not welcome“If our wife is in the factory and our children are in school, and no one can visit us, what can we do at home?” A worker complained in a letter to the newspaper.As Oliver Burkeman wrote Neprevka In his new book Four thousand weeks, Observed: “The value of time is not in the amount you have, but in whether you are in sync with the people you care about most.”

The Soviet Union abandoned its massive experiment after 11 years. But today’s economy is moving in a “continuous work week” direction. The rhythm of social sharing of daytime work and weekend rest is disintegrating before our eyes.

The decline of “Nine to Five” has been going on for decades. In 2010-11, 20% of U.S. employees Work more There is more than half of the time outside of the standard time between 6 am and 6 pm or on weekends.A vast Polls In 2015, workers across the European Union found that about half of them work at least one Saturday a month, nearly one-third work at least one Sunday, and about one-fifth work at night.

As in the Soviet Union, a driving factor for these work patterns is that manufacturers want factories to run 24/7 to maximize machine utilization and minimize the cost of production interruptions. Today, a common shift pattern for production and warehouse workers is to work 4 days and 12 hours a day, four days off, then four nights, and then another four days off. The other is eight-hour shift work.As a current UK Recruitment advertisement The warehouse job explained: “Working hours are: 6 am to 2 pm, 2 pm to 10 pm, 10 pm to 6 am. You will work in one shift for a week and then rotate, so you need to be flexible in dealing with all shifts .”

Factories and warehouses are not the only workplaces that operate around the clock. Shift work is common for doctors, nurses, paramedics, drivers, and security personnel. It seems to be rising. In 2015, 21% of workers in the EU Report Shift work has increased from 17% ten years ago.

Although shift work is suitable for some people, there is evidence that it can harm their health, especially when they rotate between day and night.The twelve-hour shift, shift system and unpredictable schedule are connect The risk of mental illness, cardiovascular problems and gastrointestinal problems is higher.

Shift work can also harm family life. “Divorce is a very bad thing. We see a lot of divorces, just because the family, especially young couples, are away from your family [for] 12 hours, and then when you go home after a 12-hour shift, you just want to sleep,” a manager at a manufacturing plant in the United States told the scholar Learn The impact of shift work. A worker in the same study said: “It changes the time we spend with our families. It changes our time in social life, churches, and community groups. Everything you want to participate in.”

The old work rhythm has also been broken in office life, but in this case, it is more employee-driven. Driven by the pandemic, the freedom of working outside the office has increased the freedom of working time at any time. “Work asynchronously“Is the new buzzword in human resources and management. This is good: it avoids the unpleasant synchronization of everyone crowding on the train every morning and night, and allows people to organize work around other priorities or responsibilities.

There are also disadvantages.A sort of Learn Workers in 15 countries/regions released in 2017 found that the impact of remote work on work-life balance was “very vague”: Workers reported that they had more time to spend with their families, but working hours had also increased. The difference between paid work and personal life The boundaries between are blurred.

Regulators are already considering how to protect white-collar workers. France with MexicoFor example, promise the “right to disconnect” from email and phone. But policymakers should also pay more attention to shift workers. The working hours set by their employers may not be synchronized with their biological clocks and family life.

The collapse of the old work week created winners and losers. One of the obvious differences in the post-pandemic world will be those who can make work fit for life and those who must make life fit for work.

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