We are so used to it, that we regard the 7 day week as normal and reasonable. All over the world, people work for 5 days and have a two day weekend. The weekend may be Saturday/Sunday or Friday/Saturday, but the idea is the same. However, there is no intrinsic logic in this system. The weeks do not fit into the months or into a year. The nature of our society is that some people need to work at the weekend, which complicates matters and is not good for family life. Even looking at the names of days in various languages shows confusion is rife. In German, Wednesday is Mittwoch – “middle of the week”; it is day 3 of a 7 day week, day 4 is the middle. In Italian, Saturday is “Sabato” – literally “Sabbath”; this is incorrect.
I think it is time for change and I would like to propose a new, modern, logical system that is compatible with 21st Century life.
My plan would result in a more relaxing, family-friendly lifestyle, which also promotes greater productivity from society as a whole. But it would be a radical change requiring many ancient traditions to be lost. First, we can dispense with the idea of the month. We will also get rid of all current public holidays. The week would be 8 days and consist of two 4-day chunks, which I will call “A” and “B”. These chunks would fit neatly into the year, with a day left over, which would be a global holiday – maybe on the Spring Equinox.
The broad idea is that everyone works 4 days on, 4 days off. Having vacation would still be possible, but it would not be necessary to have too many days, as taking 4 days off would yield a nice 12 day break. I calculate that, by working only a slightly longer day and having 16 vacation days per year, people would work nearly as many hours per year as they do now in most Western countries.
If that was all there was to the system, it would be quite attractive, but there is a further twist: not everyone works the same 4 days. About half of society work on the “A” cycle and the other half work on the “B”, so weekend leisure activities are not over-subscribed and idle during the week. Shop workers just do not need to work at weekends any more. In fact, almost all of the infrastructure – schools, shops, offices, factories – would function 8 days a week, but with two sets of staff/users. This means, for example, that a school with capacity for 1000 pupils could now take 2000 with only the addition of more lockers. Almost everyone would be “job sharing”, with a “shadow” person doing the same job half of the time.
I will leave you to consider the implications of this plan at your leisure. I really cannot see any downsides – after the initial culture shock. I have not described all the details of how the calendar would be organized, but, trust me, I have them all worked out. I am just awaiting approval from the General Council of the United Nations and we will be ready to roll out the 8 day week.