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> What exactly is the reason these shipping companies seem to go into a kind of hibernation over the weekend?

You can thank the Jews, the Christians, unions, Henry Ford, and the Great Depression.

Yeah, I think it's important we have time off (possibly more than we do), but I think it's much less important that all line up...

Its often important that organizations that work together have operational time off that aligns well most of the time, because misalignments create latency in decision loops and, therefore, inefficient use of resources.

When you start tracing the dependencies between organizations throughout the economy, you start seeing why having a widely shared set of shared working days and working hours actually makes quite a bit of sense from that perspective.

That is unquestionably a concern. I think you overrate it, though. Having more diversity in working hours would often lower latency, as there's someone available during off-hours rather than having huge gaps. We're also already dealing with a certain amount of distribution with timezones in (sorry for the cliche) "our increasingly globalized world" - I don't see that spreading that around more is going to cause more problems than it solves. As pointed out elsewhere, spreading out peak usage of things like roads and electricity provides significant benefit.

Agreed. Also there are benefits to spreading out the acceptable work week like reducing traffic congestion.

Obviously this sort of spread wouldn't work in every industry, but the idea that any "professional" should work from approximately 9-5 on M-F causes obvious lifestyle load balancing issues we could avoid by spreading it out much more were possible.

So you would be fine with it if your job was Sun-Thurs and your partner/husband/wife worked Saturday-Weds? What about kids who still go to school M-F? When would you see them There is actually a benefit to society in having weekends aligned, so that families and friends can have time off together and interact with other people.

It is important that there be sufficient overlap. It is less important that there be complete overlap. There is a downside to my wife working while I am free, but an up-side too if we are better able to distribute tasks like childcare between us.

Maintaining sufficient overlap is partly a matter of individual schedule preferences, and it gets easier as amount of free time increases (though, obviously, at a cost of overlap in work time) and as scheduling flexibility generally increases. Currently, if my wife has a "9-5" and I am stuck working something with weekend shifts, my wife typically lacks the flexibility to shift her schedule to match mine. What I am most strongly arguing for is increased flexibility where it is feasible.

I just read https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6711121 which explains the (fairly obvious?) Christian connection, but what do Jews, unions, Henry Ford, and the Great Depression have to do with it? The Jews don't even have a Sunday sabbath.

Ford was the first company in the US to institute a 5 day work week. Hoover asked companies to go to a 5 day work week in lieu of layoffs and Roosevelt passed Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 making it mandatory for certain workers.

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