A little over a week ago, the news hit that Goldman Sachs was attempting to make life easier for its junior analysts. A key part of that? Trying to contain work within a 5-day workweek.
I think that’s probably a good idea. When weekend work is built into a place’s culture, and it’s not an organization that obviously needs to be open on weekends (like a store, or a hospital) it’s often because someone is doing a bad job managing workloads. As the head of Goldman’s investment banking division was quoted as saying, this is a marathon, not a sprint.
Burn-out isn’t productive. Or profitable.
That said, I’m arguing over at Fast Company this week that there’s nothing wrong with working on weekends. When I wrote my book on how successful people spend their weekends I found that — no surprise — a number work on days that begin with S. Many try to contain it — a spot on Saturday morning, or Sunday night — but they do work on weekends.
That’s for reasons beyond sheer volume of work, though. Many people who achieve great success in their lines of work really like what they do. Work isn’t separate from life. It’s part of life. Weekends often present a great opportunity to think about problems and brainstorm solutions apart from the office environment.
And for many of us, working on weekends is the key to achieving work-life balance. Given my current commitments — which perhaps I should rethink, but I have them for now — I really need to work about 50 hours a week. Yet I’m attending functions at my children’s schools. I eat lunch with any kid who’s home at noon. I run when I have reliable childcare. Consequently, I often need to work nights and weekends to make the pieces work. While that may sound problematic, I’d rather work on weekends than not be able to go read at my son’s school. I imagine many other people would make the same choice.
If weekend work isn’t part of your job description (e.g. a doctor with weekend call) do you work weekends? Sometimes? Often? Never?