Shorter Work Weeks

Is 40 hours a week the answer to a company being productive?

I don’t think so.

I have been toying with the idea of only working 4 days a week, or just shortening each day by 2 hours. Think about all the times you’ve “hit the wall” after lunch and just lost all productivity to scrolling down your facebook feed. Most of us know that 3 PM quickly becomes “only two more hours till I’m out of this hell hole.” Why can’t we just leave rather than wasting time? If we aren’t procrastinating on facebook or reddit, then we might be trying as hard as possible to keep our eyes open and coming up with clever ways to prevent our boss from seeing us nap.

I got the idea from a few articles I’ve read in the past, but a recent article led to me writing this. Here it is:

This article had a few points that stood out to me: “work is for peasants,” useful work, and the 15 hour work week.

“Work is for peasants.”

The article goes on about how the garbage workers going on strike causes the city to shut down, while the bankers going on strike for 20 times as long doesn’t cause a stir. Why are all the guys making the big bucks the ones doing hardly any work? In a previous company that I worked for, this was definitely the case. Upper management held the money, while the producers (designers, developers, etc) were not making half as much. This just can’t be sustainable.

Useful work

The mention of useful work being under-compensated stood out to me. Why can’t useful work be profitable? The article says about these wealthy jobs: “Instead of creating wealth, these jobs mostly just shift it around.” The definition of “useful work” then, can be a job that helps create wealth and also serves a purpose in the community. There are lots of bullshit jobs out there now which can generate a hefty income.

The 15 hour work week

“ Nearly a century ago, economist John Maynard Keynes famously predicted that we would work fifteen-hour weeks by the year 2030.”

Instead of 15 hour work weeks, we work all the time. I believe that we work these hours because we think more will get accomplished. I also think we can accomplish more if we restructure the way we look at a work week. If we spend less time stressing about being at work until 5, and focus on the work we are doing, we will be more productive. If we knew that work is done at 3, we would likely spend more time doing work. This is why I think a 30 hour work week would do just fine. Why stress out your employees by making them stay extra time that they will likely waste anyway?

The 30 hour work week puts less stress on your job, while making the time at your job more valuable.