You’ve probably heard of 9-5 jobs, a workday or a business day. Even a layman can run into words like this when making an online order or performing a business transaction at the bank or office.
Various countries, periods, sectors and organisations have set their own standard of what qualifies as a business day. Some of them were influenced by religion requiring a free day for worship. In fact, earlier eras had recorded days of rest which is similar to what we have come to call weekends in this era.
In the early 1900s, some US mills were already giving their workers a five-day work week. Henry Ford began giving his workers Saturdays and Sundays off after the October revolution which criticised elites for presenting unfavourable conditions to their workers.
In 1940 however, the Fair Labour Standard Act saw the adoption of a two-day weekend and 5 business days with the enactment of a 40hour work week. This has since remained the standard in the US and many parts of the world today.
What is a business day?
A business day also called a working day is any day within a work week used to describe when regular business activities take place. This is typically understood to be calendar days from Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time, excluding holidays and weekends. Any day when the financial markets are open for trading is regarded as a business day in the securities sector.
There are typically 21 business days in a 31 calendar month and 18 business days in a calendar month of 29 days. Some countries however operate a 4-hour workweek which further reduces the length of available business days in a month. Some business days could also be 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. or 8.30 a.m – 4.30 p.m. usually with a one-hour break or two 30-minute breaks however, others could be longer or shorter.
3 Types of business days
You may be so used to the usual 9-5 work day that you find it hard to believe that there are many types of work days. Well, there are indeed many types of workdays and we will be discussing 3 below. Keep reading.
1. Continuous business day
Also known as a full-time work day, this type of business day has only one brief interruption for a break and usually lasts for a complete eight hours. Most countries operate this type of work day.
2. Split working days
This type of business day involves much longer breaks that may require workers to go home and return at a later time. Breaks could be as long as 3 or 4 hours hence, employees may be required to work from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a 4-hour break in between.
3. Shift jobs
This is common in sectors that do not accommodate pauses such as security offices and hospitals. Shift jobs are usually distributed into 3 groups of 8 hours each. These are morning, afternoon and night. The workers will mostly alternate their shifts except in cases where there are specific agreements to permanently work in one shift.
Despite the variances in the types of workdays mentioned above, it is important to note that only one business day can exist within a 24-hour period hence, a day’s shift work of 3 sections does not equal 3 business days nor does a split work day equal half a business day.
Why are business days important?
1. They are important for work
Business days are basically the days when employees work in most businesses and organisations hence, business days are important because they help create a work-life balance for employees. While employees get to work during business days, they can have enough rest time on weekend days.
2. To communicate with and invoice customers
In finance, business days are very important as they form a basis for business day conventions which extend the date of any interest period to a work day if the date the interest falls on is a weekend or national holiday.
Business days are also the best time to communicate with customers to enable customers to enjoy their free time on weekends and holidays with family and friends.
3. For tax purposes
Taxes in the United States are usually filled before specific due dates which always fall on a business day.
4. To make future plans
Schools, governments and various industries use business days in creating a time plan or roster for various activities. For example, schools will only fix examinations and lectures on business days.
5. For courier services
Courier services are popular for using business days. They use it to determine how long it will take before a package is sent or arrives. Most courier companies conduct their businesses on only business days hence, sending a parcel usually comes with details of how many business days it will take for packages to arrive and be delivered.
Length of various business day
1. One business day
The length of a business day is the working hours that exist in a work day during a work week. This could be anywhere between Monday to Friday, Monday to Saturday, Monday to Thursday or Sunday to Thursday depending on the region. Also, depending on the region, work hours could vary.
One business day would mean the following day if there are no weekends or national holidays in between. For example, on a Monday, one business day from Monday will be Tuesday if there are no holidays in between. In the same vein, one business day from Friday will be the following Monday after the weekends.
2. Two business days
To determine when two business days will be, count two days after a specific day. For example, two business days after a Monday will be the Wednesday that follows. The days that fall on a weekend or holiday should not be counted.
3. Three business days
To calculate 3 business days, count 3 consecutive days after a specific day. For example, 3 business days after a Friday will be the following Wednesday in a country with a Saturday and Sunday weekend.
5. Three to five business days
3 to 5 business days would mean the days between the third consecutive business day and the fifth consecutive business day following the specific day. For example, 3-5 business days starting from a Wednesday will fall on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the following week.
6. Seven to ten business days.
To determine when seven to ten business days will be, count the consecutive days following a specific day minus weekends and public holidays. All the days between the 7th consecutive day and the 10th consecutive day are the 7-10 business days.
For example, 7-10 business days after a Monday will be the Wednesday of the following week through to Monday of the upper week.
Business days have existed for a very long time now however, the world has experienced a more globalised workforce since the introduction of the internet. Businesses now function without the need to distinguish workdays from weekends while some run a 24/7 operation.
With this development, it is possible that in the near future, the concept of business days will become extinct as more businesses and organisations adopt more flexible work options.