Since the COVID-19 pandemic, when offices and employees were compelled to embrace a remote style of work, the workplace has seen a significant transformation. It started the Great Resignation, which saw employees take control of their professional lives by quitting quietly and working erratically.
Nevertheless, three years later, when a business has largely returned to normal, employees are increasingly juggling a new responsibility: working on the weekends. While recent changes to the workplace have largely favored flexibility and placed a priority on employee well-being, some have been forced to work nonstop weeks due to a tight labor market and the widespread use of remote work technologies.
In general, employees worked more hours on Saturdays and Sundays in 2018 than they will in 2021, according to a survey by the workplace software provider ActivTrak. In 2022, only 5% of respondents reported working on the weekend. Their average workday grew by 18 minutes to 6.6 hours.
But the number of weekend hours increased significantly for some other businesses. Media professionals put in 53% more time on the weekends, for an average of 10.7 hours, while the number of weekend hours in the computer business increased 31% to 11.5 hours.
- Employees are increasingly juggling a new responsibility: working on the weekends.
- In 2022, only 5% of respondents reported working on the weekend.
- Employee well-being is still in danger even with more flexibility in work style.
The analysis pinpoints two causes for weekend labor. First, because so many people were laid off, especially in the computer industry, workers had to take on more work to compensate for the staff loss. Second, as employees try to avoid virtual calls and meetings in the hybrid workplace, weekends are becoming the only times they can work without interruptions.
A number of studies have shown that work can extend beyond the five-day week and into weekends, says Gabriela Mauch, vice president of ActivTrak’s productivity lab. We’re likely to see a lot more experimenting as businesses understand their working style must be specifically tailored to their industry and workforce.
The analysis by ActivTrak examines trends in productivity, technology, and employee well-being using data gathered from 134,000 employees in 2021 and 2022.
According to Mauch, flexibility has become more acceptable over the past three years, sometimes resulting in fewer working hours during the week and more work on the weekends.
Employee well-being is still in danger even with more flexibility in work style. In 2022, the percentage of burnout among American workers remained alarmingly high (89%). Even high-level executives suffer from the same issues, despite businesses becoming more proactive in assisting their workers in getting the care they require.