How to Truly ‘Celebrate’ the Hard-working American Workforce this Labor Day Weekend

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A federal holiday since 1894, today, Labor Day weekend celebrates the 158.5 million working Americans age 16 and over, constituting 63.4% of U.S. civilians taking part in the workforce. Labor Day also marks the symbolic end of the summer and the start of the back-to-school season. As we prepare to celebrate our American workforce and its national and international innovative and productive contributions, we took a look at how Americans spend their Labor Day weekend holiday. Is there room for improvement? Can we save on business costs, increase our productivity and revenue, conserve more and reduce pollutions, and, at the same time, improve employee morale and positive motivation? Does ‘busyness’ lead to good ‘business’?

Following the great reception of MyTimeNews's nationwide Fourth of July survey, our team has recently conducted a nation-wide survey on work habits and preferences, as well as Labor Day long weekend plans favored to relax, recharge, and get inspired before diving into the autumnal busyness! According to our survey, Americans enjoy having their Labor Day holiday in September. Most of them will be spending their long weekend at home, with their family and/or significant others (58%), while a few will be traveling a short distance to local museums and cultural events (22%). It looks like most Americans take advantage of this holiday to regroup and get ready to face back-to-school, the cooler weather and the hibernation season. Labor Day looks like a low-key weekend to say a last au revoir to summer, and bonjour to a more rigorous work schedule.

Our survey shows that, in majority, Americans prefer a flexible work schedule, with defined objectives and goals, in a relaxed work environment. Also, most of the workforce enjoys being off on Saturdays and Sundays. If American employees had one or two extra day(s) off, the majority of them would run errands and other chores. Resting and sleeping more comes in second, followed by working out and spending time with the family in third. Generally, what consumes American workers' time the most are their kids and time spent providing care to their parents. The daily work commute comes in second. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 20.6 million Americans commute to work between 7:00am and 7:29am, from Monday to Friday, with a commute time averaging at 26 minutes. New York and Maryland score the highest average morning commute time, with 32.6 and 32.2 minutes respectively.

Our taste in how and when we would like to work varies as much as our favorite colors do. Would you rather work harder over fewer days or smaller number of daily hours spread out during the seven-day weeks? While most Americans have indicated their preference in a five equal days of nine working hours per week or four equal days of eleven working hours per week, a few of them would rather work random hours. Also, on average, the American workforce does five hours of overtime per week, while devoting one hour to their kids' extracurricular activities. Could an optimization of the time spent on specific tasks and/or a better communication within the workplace reduce these five hours of overtime? Could employers satisfy their employees' schedule preferences by re-designing their timetables, while maintaining (and perhaps improving) synergy and efficiency?

According to HR Solutions Inc., a Chicago-based management consulting firm, the top ten issues employees tend to consistently complain about revolve around three themes: i) compensation and benefits; ii) equity, culture, and management style; and iii) workloads.Our surveys have identified work scheduling as the single most common complaint in many sectors across the US workforce, particularly so with critical and life-saving professions, such as nursing. Improving workflow and schedules does not only benefits employees; it directly impacts the organization’s outcomes.  An improved employee-employer relationship leads to an increase in productivity and retention. Managers and business owners would thus enjoy a two-fold benefit, for while planning their employees’ work schedules, they gain benefits in terms of over-time pay, early time-out wastes, and a number of other budget guzzling phenomena.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and smart algorithms touch almost every aspect of our lives, no matter where we live or what we do for a living. From electronic banking to various phone apps, bots are hard at work to simplify our lives. MyTimeNews has compiled a list of intelligent scheduling tools to help improve workflow and work-life balance.

On that note, MyTimeNews wishes you all a restful and joyous Labor Day weekend!