The price you pay to avoid working on weekends

Employee preferences for working on weekends

The cost to avoid working on weekends

Despite a noticeable shift in flexible working arrangements, including working from home options, recent research suggests that our best social interactions with friends and family still occur more on weekends than at other times.

The study found that people experience more happiness, enjoyment and laughter, and less doom and gloom, on Saturdays and Sundays than they do on weekends.

So can you put a price on that?

Well, a recent study on call centre workers in the USA authored by American economists Alexandre Mas and Amanda Pallais in the paper called Valuing Alternative Work Arrangements aimed to identify just that – how much money workers were willing to forgo to avoid working on weekends

The American economists used a real-life hiring process at a US call centre to test how much workers prized different working times and conditions.

About 7,000 call centre applicants were offered a choice between a traditional Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, work routine and less conventional employment arrangements, including flexible scheduling, working from home and positions that gave the employer discretion over scheduling.

The economists carefully varied pay rates for the jobs with traditional and non-standard routines.

This allowed them to estimate the call centre workers’ “willingness to pay” for each alternative.

Research results on avoiding working on weekends

The key findings of the study were:

  • The great majority of call centre workers are not willing to pay for flexible scheduling relative to a traditional schedule: either the ability to choose the days and times of work or the number of hours they work.
  • The average worker is willing to give up 20% of wages to avoid a schedule set by an employer on a week’s notice. This largely represents workers’ aversion to evening and weekend work, not scheduling unpredictability.
  • Traditional M-F 9 am – 5 pm schedules are preferred by most job seekers.
  • Of the worker-friendly options tested, workers are willing to pay the most (8% of wages) for the option of working from home.
  • Women, particularly those with young children, have higher WTP (willingness to Pay) to work from home and to avoid employer scheduling discretion.

So turns out the traditional 9 to 5 is still the most valued roster.

Do you do everything it takes to avoid working on weekends or does it not bother you?

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Justin Tippett
About Justin Tippett 78 Articles

I'm the founder of CX Group Australia - helping businesses and customer experience professionals to source, deliver and optimise customer experience solutions to drive business outcomes and I'm available for consulting and training services.


I'm also the person responsible for the terrible memes on the Call Centre Legends page😮


When I'm not working, I enjoy pretending that 40 something isn't that old and it's still not too late for a professional sporting career.

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