3 Benefits of a Shorter Work Week
Mention a shorter work week to anyone within earshot and no doubt you'll hear a resounding "Amen!" 1 in 9 Americans work 50+ hours per week as per The Center for a New American Dream. Compare that to 1 in 81 in Sweden and 1 in 152 in the Netherlands and it's no wonder so many of us are stressed-out and exhausted.
Working fewer days per week is not just something to dream about while you ought to be filing reports and crunching numbers. There are already employers switching to a 4-day work week model and others thinking about doing so. Why? The benefits are powerful and enhance the lives of employees and their employers as well.
A shorter work week is valuable to take into consideration if you're the boss and something to bring to the table with these 3 benefits to back you up if you'd like your company to take this notion seriously. 3 day weekend… here we come!
Better for Overall Health
When we're overworked, tired, and stressed, health inevitably takes a toll. As per Healthline, "Numerous reports and studies have shown that the expected pace put upon the U.S. workforce is to blame for many health issues that plague adults today. These include sleep issues, obesity, and an overall weakened immune system. Cut back the work week by a day, and we could see significant improvements in our physical and mental health."
With health issues like these so prevalent in our work-centric society, people are taking more and more sick days, or come into the office when they're not at their mental or physical best. Time isn't of value if the employee isn't able to produce as well as they want or are able to. This can lead to even more stress, creating bodily illness and mental strain – a vicious cycle.
That cherished extra day of free time clears the mind and allows the body to recuperate. Employees will have the chance to focus on themselves for 24 more hours so that while they're at work, they can give their all to the job at hand.
Even though the employee will be spending fewer days at the office, it's been shown that their work effort and output is actually higher with a 4-day work week. As per Joseph Chris Driving Business Connections, "Employees return to work more refreshed after a 3-day weekend. They even make it a point to work very hard during the compressed week, so that they will not lose the privilege of a four day work week system. When staff is pumped up to go back to work, they tend to be more productive. This results in more output and higher company revenue."
Employees appreciate this benefit and are more inclined to be sure everything is complete and done well so they can take full advantage of this arrangement. They are happier and more willing to work together to keep the system in place. This is a win-win for the employee and the higher-ups.
Plus, with this 4-day work week program, each day will include more hours in the office to compensate for the missed day. Therefore, as per WiseStep, "Because employees spend continuous hours at work, they do not miss the flow of work or get distracted to leave for home. They get enough time to complete the task in the same day rather than passing it off to the next day. 10-11 hours of work (per day) motivates the employee to finish the task the same day with full concentration."
Enhanced Work – Life Balance
Naturally, a 4-day work week allows for a better work – life balance. People can spend more time with their families and doing things they enjoy such as hobbies, exercise, and vacationing outside the office. As per The Center for a New American Dream, 59% of employees say their jobs do not leave them with enough time for themselves and 75% feel they do not have enough time with their kids. A 4-day work week system would surely change these percentages for the better.
Although you may get home later or need to head into work a bit earlier on the 4 work days, an entire full day of free time more than makes up for it. No interruptions and no work worries. Joseph Chris notes, "(A 3-day weekend) gives employees more relaxation time with family and friends, and whatever errands they were unable to do during the work week they can accomplish during the weekends. If anyone wants to escape the fast-paced life even just for a while, 3 days would be enough time to unwind and rejuvenate."
As far as the employer's benefit, Nevada Small Business notes, "You're likely to attract more highly qualified new hires who view the four-day week as a major lifestyle benefit. Plus, because of the longer work day, employees miss the standard morning rush hour, getting to work early and staying later. Less time in traffic – a big plus."
Who's not interested in a 3-day weekend? These 3 benefits are no-brainers and make sense for the worn-out worker. Let's all move to the 4/3 plan and improve health, wealth, and life in general!
Looking for a job? In addition to encountering those annoying never-ending job interviews you may find yourself face-to-face with an artificial intelligence bot.
Companies worldwide increasingly use artificial intelligence tools and analytics in employment decision-making – from parsing through resumes and screening candidates to automated assessments and digital interviews. But recent studies claim that AI does more harm than good.
While AI screening tools were developed to save companies time and money, they’ve been criticized for placing women and people of color at a disadvantage. The problem is that many companies lack appreciable diversity in their data set, making it impossible for an algorithm to know how people from underrepresented groups have performed in the past. As a result, the algorithm will be biased toward the data available and compare future candidates to that archetype.
The City’s Automated Employment Decision Tools (AEDT) law is designed to offset the potential misuse of AI and protect job candidates against discrimination. It was enforced on July 5th, 2023 in New York City - with other cities and states expected to gradually follow suit. Employers must now inform applicants when and how they encounter AI. Furthermore, companies have to commission a third-party audit of the AI software used, and publish a summary of the results to prove that their systems aren’t racist or sexist. Job applicants are able to request information regarding what data is collected and analyzed by the AI. Violations of the law can result in fines of up to $1,500.
Replacing Human Hiring Decisions
However, should a job applicant want to opt-out of such impersonal judgement by a bot, the new law's scope is quite limited.
While the law specifies that instructions for requesting an alternative selection process must be included in the AI screening disclosure, companies aren't actually required to use other screening methods. Not to mention that the law only applies to AI in hiring and not any other employment decisions. It also wouldn't apply if the AI, for example, flags candidates with relevant experience, but a human then reviews all applications, making the ultimate hiring decision.
Some civil rights advocates and public interest groups argue that the law isn’t extensive enough and that it’s even unenforceable. On the other hand, businesses say that it’s impractical, costly, and burdensome, and that independent audits aren’t feasible.
Responsible use of AI in hiring
Although this law may be a good first attempt to assign more regulatory guardrails around AI, it remains to be seen if it ensures the responsible use of AI in hiring processes. At the end of the day, perhaps recruiting talent should remain a human-made decision.
The good news is that AI can help companies without harming potential job candidates in many ways – such as connecting new employees with internal organizational information and company benefits during onboarding. Or helping employees to do their jobs more effectively rather than replacing them.
There’s all this talk about solo travel. And for good reason — no wasting precious time waiting for others to get their act together, take the plans out of the group chat and actually buy the tickets. Going solo, you can be spontaneous. You can plan your trips according to your precise tastes. You can hop on any flight and fly awayyyyyy.
But what if each time you flew you’d get a free ticket? That’s what you get with the Southwest Companion Pass.
Award status, upgrades, lounge access — there are many perks in the frequent flier game. But one of the coveted holy grails is the Southwest Companion Pass.
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
The Companion Pass is part of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. You get to choose one person to be your “companion,” and they fly with you for free (plus some taxes and fees) on every flight. That’s right. Two for the price of one. That’s half off each ticket if you split it! Whether you’re flying with a partner, family member, friend, or anyone else, they can tag along for free.
And it gets better: once you earn the pass, you can reap the rewards for that full calendar year … AND the next. That’s why people go mad trying to earn a companion pass during the early months of the year. The sooner you qualify, the longer you can use it.
There are also no blackout dates. There are no limits. And if you didn’t purchase the ticket (think: work travel, your companion, or a generous benefactor), there are no restrictions! As long as you’re the one on the plane, your companion can also … be on the plane.
You can also switch out your designated companion 3x a year. So, no need to stay in a relationship simply to get the most out of your companion pass! Ghost and fly away — with a whole new companion!
If this sounds too good to be true — it’s not. But there is one small catch. It’s kinda tough to earn this mega reward.
How to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass?
You can qualify for the pass in one of two ways:
- Fly 100 qualifying one-way flights
- Earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year.
Clearly, this is no small feat — especially if you’re trying to qualify ASAP.
So how do you actually earn the Southwest Companion Pass?
Don’t worry, there’s a path to earning this amazing reward without climbing on 100 flights or spending an exorbitant amount of money.
Earning 135K reward points may seem completely impossible, but it’s easier than it sounds. Simply sign up for a Southwest Credit Card and turn those spending habits into a rapid rewards account. Through the Rewards Priority Credit Card, earn points when using local transit and commuting, plus score major points and miles whenever you spend.
Stay with me here. This is not some scheme to get you into credit card debt. Many airline cards come with potential savings, giantic rewards, awarding you points, and cashback with every purchase you make that can be redeemed for travel. And often they can come with passive sign-up bonuses. If you spend a specific amount of money within a certain timeframe of opening the card, you can be in for a windfall of points.
Now that’s where the companion pass comes in:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Priority Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
- Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest has three personal cards and a business card. Each of these cards offers rewards between 30K-80K points. In the past, people could open two cards and get a bonus that granted enough points to almost meet the minimum. However, with new restrictions on personal cards, you can only get one bonus every 24 months. Boo!
However, this doesn’t apply to business cards. If you’re eligible, have good credit, and not likely to spiral into insane credit card debt, you can open a business card and a personal card, and accrue 100K+ points. The Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card will get you points after you spend money in no time.
Now to earn the rest of them.
The secret to gaining these credit card points is to plan your card sign-ups around big purchases. Just before a recent move, I opened a card . . . and the rewards came rolling in — a small balm to ease the pain of how exorbitant moving can be.
Put everyday spend — especially big purchases or bulk items — on your Southwest credit card and watch your award points quickly add up. Typically, you earn 1 point per $1 spent on your Southwest card and 2 points per $1 on actual Southwest purchases.
But there are other ways to earn points, including:
- Flying Southwest: Booking travel on Southwest earns more points. The cost of this travel will be worth it with your companion pass
- Shopping from Rapid Rewards Partners: Purchases with Southwest’s “Home & Lifestyle” and “Shop and Dine” Partners also earn Companion Pass qualifying points. While you shouldn’t make gratuitous purchases, browse Southwest’s partners to see if you could earn extra points for items you'd be purchasing anyway. All this, simply from enrolling in their Dining Program and shopping with their partners.
So there you have it! And since it’s almost Spring, get to earning and soon you’ll be flying two for the price of one!