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Will Holiday Economics Work for Your Start-up?

As with the four-day work week, longer weekends are becoming a thing. Should your start-up join the bandwagon?

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BY Melissa G. Bagamasbad - 10 Oct 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

There’s been much positive reception when it comes to enacting the four-day work week in Southeast Asia — and the Philippines is an example.

It’s a move that brings to mind the Holiday Economics policy enacted by former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, wherein she declared that holidays falling within the work week be celebrated over the weekend. A former economist, President Arroyo believed that longer weekends would result in more revenues for businesses since people tend to spend more.

It also goes without saying that these three-day weekends leave people relaxed and reenergized, leading to better overall productivity during the work week. It isn’t surprising, then, to see some start-ups make three-day weekends part of company policy. Should your start-up join the bandwagon?

Here are three reasons to give three-day weekends a shot:

1. Longer weekends mean more work-life balance.

Long weekends give employees more time to recharge and develop themselves. “Ideally, your conscientious employee will take the time to learn something new, travel out of their comfort zones, reconnect with family, and do other productive things,” says Miguel Valdez, president and founder of Vanguard Assessments.

The three-day weekend should focus on rest, recuperation, and growth. Says Valdez, “The most meaningful impact would be for those with families, as they get to spend more time with their loved ones. Happier families mean happier employees.”

2. Ironically, having longer weekends could mean employees work harder.

In an article, Treehouse co-founder and CEO Ryan Carson relates that three-day weekends “help employees come into work all the more eager on Monday morning.”

Having recharged for three days rather than two helps, but even more effective is the threat of the week ending so soon. He says that Thursday, the last day of the Treehouse work week, “comes fast, so employees tend to work all the harder to make sure they meet their weekly goals inside that limited timeframe.”

Carson isn’t a fan of the “modern entrepreneur myth of 16-hour-a-day, seven-day workweeks.” “I think it’s bullshit,” he says. “A lot of entrepreneurs want to work because it makes them feel important. But they don’t have to work (around the clock).” Carson says his business is on his mind almost all the time, but he doesn’t feel like he or his team should need to always be working. 

3. There’s potential to earn more revenue with longer weekends.<

There’s mixed feedback when it comes to this; it depends on the specific holiday and the kind of business you are in.

President Arroyo’s holiday economics policy largely benefits lifestyle and recreation, and tourism-centric businesses. Malling in countries like the Philippines and Singapore, where shopping centers abound, can increase sales, profits, and taxes for the government. The same is true for resorts and theme parks. “Three-day weekends mean more money flow into establishments and resorts, as people have more time to spend what they earned,” points out Valdez.

For PaidUp founder and CEO Asim Haneef, and Deseo fashion entrepreneur Pia Lizares, long weekends tend to impact sales negatively. Haneef’s customers comprise mostly BPO workers and students; as they tend to stay home or go out of town during weekends, they use PaidUp (a food app) mostly during Mondays to Fridays. It’s a similar predicament Lizares finds herself in, as customers tend to go out of town during long weekends. Long weekends also mean double pay for her sales personnel.

For The Weekend Showroom entrepreneur Estelle Ople-Osorio, however, three-day weekends are advantageous. “I used to hate holidays back when my business was still related to small-scale business process outsourcing. My team would be on vacation, but my overseas clients expect output, or for us to be online. But now that I organize events and bazaars, some of my venues benefit from holidays. Malls that are particularly family-oriented tend to have higher foot traffic, which positively impacts sales.”

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