The Argument for the Four-Day Work Week

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The Four Day Workweek

Joe Stern, Staff Writer

As the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the regular flow of school and work life, reopening these sites would take a flexible and creative plan. Hence, the creation of the Pause Wednesday at Central.

The 2021 school year saw the advent of the 4-day workweek at Central, championed by the Pause Wednesday, a rather fresh idea but one that has found its way into numerous workplaces around the country.

Central’s idea of the Pause Wednesday serves many purposes. It gives students the ability to take a breather in the middle of the week, providing them with the opportunity to catch up on work, get ahead, or just relax.

Teachers are available for office hours during the day for students to meet with them and discuss what they have learned in class. As a day with minimal people in the building, Pause Wednesdays serve as a chance to sanitize the school and ensure that classrooms are safe from the virus.

With a rising number of vaccinations and relaxed safety measures, it seems that, hopefully, the pandemic is coming to an end. With the recession of Covid safety measures and pandemic-related practices, we’re left with an important question: what will happen to our beloved Pause Wednesday?

As something to consider for the future of American education and workplace structure, the pros and cons of the 4-day work week should be analyzed.

The 4-day workweek allows students to feel less overwhelmed about work and actually view going to school as something a relaxing and enriching experience.

Like the Pause Wednesday, an extra day off from school can allow students to catch up on work, prepare for the next week, and spend time on their own focuses and hobbies.

The adjustment to online learning left many students prone to falling behind, especially because of unfamiliarity with the new system.

Anthony Chaer ’22 describes his positive experience with the Pause Wednesday in alleviating this difficulty: “Because I was fully online I felt it was harder to participate in class and I had a harder time learning. On the pause day, I used the IU tutoring for math and I would often sign up for other office hours such as English or Biology. The pause day allowed me to have a break from the troubles of online school.”

An extra day off can also allow activities, clubs, and sports to meet throughout the day. Students are often tired and worn out from working all day and may not put out their best effort at after-school events.

Students can spend more time with their friends and be social, something limited by the stress and homework of the normal school week.

The 4-day workweek has its potential downsides too. The extra day off may leave teachers more inclined to give larger homework assignments that would end up taking up the same amount of time they would at school.

Additionally, teachers may feel the extra stress of fitting a typical 5-day curriculum into 4-days. The day off could interrupt the ability of students who require more attention from teachers to interact with them in the classroom.

Also, it limits the availability of a school’s resources (printing, library books, technology) to its students. Taking care of children at home, especially younger children is a challenge for parents if they too are not home.

The concept of the 4-day week is not exclusive to pandemic-only situations and is definitely something to be experimented with. It will be interesting to see how Central and other schools across the nation consider its usage, especially if the idea is gaining popularity in workplaces.

Sources:
https://www.changerecruitmentgroup.com/knowledge-centre/the-pros-and-cons-of-a-4-day-working-week
https://siepr.stanford.edu/research/publications/future-hours-work
https://www.aasa.org/schooladministratorarticle.aspx?id=14858
https://www.honorsgradu.com/four-day-school-week-the-pros-and-cons/
https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/why-more-companies-are-offering-a-four-day-workweek.html