Despite a recent trial that proved that a four day working week had ‘extensive benefits’ to employee wellbeing, for many of us, it still feels like a distant dream.
But what we’re calling ‘quiet weekends’ could be the way to finally get closer to that three-day break we’re all hankering for – without burning through your holiday allowance.
It’s all about working smarter, not harder.
A ‘quiet weekend’ is where employees front-load their work to create space for a quieter end of the week.
For those with a traditional Monday to Friday schedule, this often means clearing Fridays of long meetings, hard deadlines, highly collaborative activities or tasks that can’t be completed in a day.
And for those with the flexibility to work from home, Friday is a popular choice as they begin to wind down for the weekend.
Jill Cotton, careers trends expert at Glassdoor explains: ‘Unlike quiet quitting, quiet weekends aren’t about scraping by and doing the bare minimum to avoid losing your job.
‘Quiet weekends are purposefully structured to maximise your productivity during the week, while putting yourself in a great position to enjoy the weekend.
‘The tasks saved for the quiet Friday often need specific focus or extra headspace and can be completed alone. When done right, quiet weekends can be a clever tactic for employees to protect their work-life balance and get the most out of their job.’
With reports of burnout and overwork increasing in recent years, quiet weekends are a way to claw back your work life balance.
‘Thanks to the pandemic, how and where we work are constantly evolving, but many employees still struggle to perfect the relationship between their home and work lives,’ says Jill.
‘Glassdoor’s Economic Research team found a steep increase in mentions of overwork and mental health in employee reviews between 2019 and 2022, and discussion around burnout hit record levels last year.
‘To combat this, employees are increasingly looking for companies that offer flexibility and autonomy for their teams.
‘It’s unsustainable to work at full speed every day or to fill your calendar with high-pressure projects with little breaks. Creating a forced moment of calm at the end of the week helps achieve a better work-life balance.
‘Quiet weekends encourage employees to look more critically at their workloads and where their responsibilities are spread across the week.’
The benefits to employee mental health are clear. ‘If you step into the weekend still wired from a stressful week, two days may not be enough to decompress and switch off from your job’, says Jill.
How to implement a quiet weekend
‘Quiet weekends can help employees sign off fully at the end of their working week – protecting their precious days off and allowing them to recharge and bring their best selves back to work after the weekend.’
But of course, you have to proceed with caution. If you’re uncontactable or appear to be less productive on a Friday, your boss could question your commitment.
‘Own the fact that you want to create a work-life balance that is right for you and works for your employer,’ says Jill. ‘Set up a time to talk to your boss about your needs and work together to create a schedule that works for both sides.’
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