Weekly Boffin no. 13

We don't care what you think think, we're not crying. We're simply looking wistfully back at the last three day weekend for the foreseeable future. Looking back through a mask of tears and definitely not being dramatic. Luckily at Boffin we love our job (and we'll fight anyone who tells the boss otherwise) but a long weekend is always welcome. However, compared to years gone by we actually have it pretty good. Until the early part of the nineteenth century workers were expected to partake in a six day working week with a day off for religious worship. That changed when industrialists in the north of England saw the benefits of a "week-end" and allowed staff to finish on Saturdays at 2pm on the proviso that they returned "sober and refreshed" on a Monday morning. It was in 1926 that Henry Ford standardised the five day week without reducing wages although people were still working ten hours days at that point. It wasn't until 1940 that the forty hour workweek came into effect and was adopted nationwide in the US. For as long as these changes have been made there have been advocates for reducing the working week still further. The New Economics Foundation has suggested that switch to a twenty one hour week will not only help unemployment but also reduce carbon emissions and improve general well being. Twenty one hour weeks are probably a bit of a stretch but there are compelling arguments regarding a switch to four day weeks. Research has suggested that a regular three day weekend improves productivity, cuts workplace overheads such as electricity bills and generally aids in providing a happier workforce. It also makes it easier to recruit new talent whilst also retaining valuable team members. The state of Utah introduced a four day work week in 2008. Some reports claim that this boosted both productivity and worker satisfaction but the scheme ended in 2011 with some residents unhappy about a reduction in services on Fridays. Opponents of the shift say that forcing people to work ten hour days to cover the change places different stresses on the workforce including increased childcare issues on work days. Until more companies adopt the four day workweek it is very difficult to assess impacts on productivity simply because the sample size is so small. So for now it looks like we're stuck with five days a week and looking forward to August 28th. Not that we're counting!

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On This Day

The very first transmission by CNN was on this day in 1980. Cable News Network has become one of the world's largest rolling news networks.

What's On

This Saturday from 12-6 is the Carnaby Street Eat Food festival. A free one day festival which sees Carnaby restaurants serving signature dishes and drinks on the streets of this famous West End area. Find out more here.

Fact Of The Week

Today is Say Something Nice day. The world could do with a few more good things so get involved and brighten someone's day. You're all lovely, see it's easy!