A Look at the Work Week I

What’s A Work Week?

Time is an important concept. Maybe now more than ever because it helps us structure our daily lives in a comprehensible way. We created a seven-day week to develop cycles we all could follow. Ironically, however, time is not something we can control.

Today’s technology gives our sense of time a rigidity that results in it becoming our foe. We are always working with and against time.  It wasn’t always so. People worked hard and had a few days off each week to spend time for families and relaxation.

Can you imagine doing that with your smartphone always nearby?

Here’s a look at how Katrina Onstad of Quartz Magazine treats the idea of time and the work week.

Time Becomes Boss

Since the Industrial Revolution, clocks have driven our tasks. Productivity is now measured by how much work can be extracted in a given amount of time. This led to inhumane treatment of workers in order to meet the demands of ticking time. during that period, Breaks were reduced or, in some cases, eliminated completely. Time had now become the boss. 

Original Weekend

Before the official weekend was created, many people had a few days off anyway. Employees would take off the day after their received their pay checks to enjoy themselves. This celebration, if you will, involved spending hard-earned money. Even low-paid workers were known to sacrifice a day’s pay to have a few days of relaxation. 

Capitalist Contribution

The American auto-tycoon Henry Ford is to thank for the work schedule we have in our country today. In 1914, Ford doubled the hourly wage of workers in his factories to drive more demand for his product and give people incentive for working hard at their job. Ford figured that people who take off two days a week to spend time on leisurely activities have more possessions and a greater need for transportation. This coincides with our current sense of the weekend as a time for both relaxation and consumption.

In next week’s blog, we’ll look at other time-related factors that have shaped our notions of what a work week is.

To read Onstad’s complete article, click here.

Related Information

Silly & Smart 

No comments:

Post a Comment