Polls / May 14, 2014

When there is a public holiday, do you manage to squeeze five days work into four days?

About half of the respondents to the eZonomics online poll say they manage to squeeze five days work into four days when there is a public holiday. A similar share say they do not, while few respondents do not work.

I’m ahead on my work – now I can take a break
For some workers, holidays can mean pressured office hours in the lead up and a frenzied return to “the daily grind” after time away.
About half of the respondents to our online poll recognise this type of vacation cycle as applying to their style of work.
Types of work may lend themselves to holiday “cramming” to level out productivity, while others will not. If a restaurant is closed on a public holiday, staff will be unlikely to squeeze extra work into the rest of the week. But there is discussion about whether incentives, such as a bonus, can be effective in other industries to boost production under time pressure.

As Mark Twain wrote
A 2012 research article called Effort for Payment by behavioural economist and author Dan Ariely and University of California, Berkeley’s James Heyman examined productivity dynamics of different types of jobs. They find that some types of jobs (those they say operate in a monetary market) are sensitive to bonuses and rewards, while others (in what’s termed a social market) are not.
The paper quotes the classic novel Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, published in 1876, for an example of a social market citing a passage about people who willingly drove passenger coaches for the privilege “but if they were offered wages for the service, that would turn it into work, and then they would resign”.
It would seem the love of the “work” might see this group motivated to squeeze in extra duties in the case of a public holiday.

Support for four-day weeks but not at any cost
United Kingdom-based market researchers YouGov polled more than 2000 Britons in April this year about the length of the working week.
Overall, 71% said they thought Britain would be happier as a nation if a four-day working week was introduced and only a third thought doing so would make it less prosperous. However, given the scenario that a four day week would definitely mean the British economy would shrink and people would be financially worse off, support for a shorter work week fell to just 14%.

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eZonomics team
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