The Weekend Effect by Katrina Onstad fights back against our well-established culture of all work and no play.
It’s an extremely thorough 259 pager, detailing the author’s own experiences, the history and evolution of the eight-hour work day, and statistical evidence from many sources proving how we benefit from taking two days off from work each week.
In this context, we’re advised that the weekend should be an experience entirely removed from our working lives, allowing us not just to re-charge, but to explore non-work related pursuits. That means no checking work emails (or worse, sending work emails), popping into the office or kidding yourself that you have to work weekends. Because there’s more to life than work.
The concept was born when the author, a Canadian journalist, was sick of feeling Sunday night blues and unsure where her weekend had disappeared to. How chunks of those two days were spent in front of a screen working to a deadline, cleaning the house, or fulfilling duties for her family. Not exactly the fulfilling and rewarding two days ‘off’ which many of us spend all week looking forward to.
Katrina explores not only taking back our right of a weekend, but also how we can better spend that time, be that through ‘play’, getting out into nature, or volunteering, to name just a couple of examples. Plus she gives us numerous reasons why shorter working days and a restricted working week makes workers more productive and more interesting too. On that basis, everyone’s a winner.
It’s fairly depressing to think there was a market for this book, but it’s a positive step in the right direction. It represents a movement that’s gathering momentum: the backlash against being ‘always on’.