At 5pm on Friday afternoon, some 25 million British workers shut down their computers and left the office. They did not return to work for over two days. Economic experts are warning that this "weekend" may have cost the economy up to £20 billion.
Statistician Clare Shivers, from consultancy firm DPS, based the calculation on a mathematical formula involving the total annual GDP and the proportion of the year taken up by the weekend. She says it is a conservative estimate, based only on the eight or so hours most people work in a day. Without the long, 16-hour breaks most workers take on a daily basis, Britain's economy could increase by up to £3 trillion.
Another wasteful activity targeted by the firm's report into productivity is blinking. The average person blinks ten times a minute, and three blinks may consume an entire second of economic activity such as filling in a timesheet or personal evaluation form. The effect of Britain's entire workforce blinking at this rate equates to a loss of 300,000 years of useful work every year. Human beings have existed for only 200,000 years. An advertising campaign to reduce the problem has been shelved after actor David Tennant declined to take part.
A copy of the report was sent to Conservative ministers, who are set to announce that until the economy has fully recovered, workers earning less than £50,000/year should remain at work continuously, with a half-hour break at mealtimes and an hour-long "online shopping break" in the evenings.