Have you ever thought about how working less could affect your life and how people would be more happier and efficient if they worked an hour or two less than the average 8 hours per day?
According to studies made by historian and writer Rutger Bergman, working less could reduce accidents, finally bring the long wanted balance between genders, fight climate changes and many other benefits that could improve humanity.
If someone asked the greatest economist of the previous century what would be the biggest challenge of the 21 century, without any doubt, his answer would be – leisure.
During the Great Depression in the summer of 1930, an economist named John Maynard Keynes gave an interesting lecture about ‘Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren’ or in other words, economic possibilities for us today. During the period, Madrid was in chaos and unemployment and fascism was spreading very fast. However, a century from then, Keynes said that humans would have to confront a bigger challenge than this one in future – what to do with our spare time. He also stated that the Western standard would be multiplied around 4 times since 1930. His conclusion was that in 2030 people would be working only 15 hours per week.
Anyway, we all know that we are far away from fulfilling his assumptions. The main question is why are we working till exhaustion? According to many experiments made by W.K. Kellogg and Henry Ford, it’s been proven that long working hours and productivity are not a good combination.
Back in the 1980s, employees from the worldwide famous company Apple printed T-shirts saying: ‘Working 90 h per week and loving it!’. However, productivity experts have proven that if the same employees worked around 45 h per week, they might have created the Macintosh computer a year earlier.
Apparently, working productively and efficient starts with working less and strong indications have also proven that even our average 40 working h per week is too much because people can be productive only 6 hours a day. Although it still seems unimaginable, working less could solve many problems in people’s lives and world problems that affect everyone.
Aside from being more productive and efficient, working less could also reduce your stress because numerous studies have shown that a person who’s working less is way more satisfied than others who kill themselves from work or work the average 8 h per day.
A recent examination of German experts has made a model of the ‘perfect day’. According to researchers, the alleged perfect day should be consist of 106 minutes dedicated to intimate relationships, 78 minutes of relaxing, 82 minutes of socializing and 75 minutes on eating. At the end comes the parenting which would take 46 minutes of our day, work with 36 minutes and 33 minutes dedicated on commuting. As they concluded, in order to enjoy our day and remain happy, we need to lower the time of the day dedicated to consuming and working.
As for the climate change, working less could also affect this segment also. A shorter work week may cut the CO2 by half. It appears that countries who have already implemented the shorter working hours have significantly lowered ecological footprint.
For the accidents and how they can be reduced by working less – it’s simple. A long and exhausting day at work could lead a person to make mistakes or worst survive accidents which may end up tragically. This leads to the conclusion that working more than we can take or working overtime can kill us in many ways and this is one of them.
Apparently, working less could also lower the rate of unemployment because, in order to complete the work when the working hours are shortened, more people will be needed to finish the projects which can obviously reduce unemployment.
Aside from all of this, working less could solve another long lasting problem called ‘Gender equality’. Apparently, countries that have implemented shorter working hours, appear to be in the top gender quality categorizations. The main issue is to achieve a more equitable work distribution. And that won’t happen until man doesn’t do their share of fulfilling the normal domestic labor which is considered as something that women should do. According to researchers, men who spend more spare time at home with their families are more prone to share the daily duties such as doing the laundry or cleaning the dishes with their better halves.
Working less may also lower the inequality because it’s proven that countries with the longest working hours have the biggest shortcomings when it comes to quality. Until the poor work longer than they can take, the rich ones find taking off time as ‘expensive’ while their hourly rates rise.
Although working less has so many benefits, there’s no one who’s willing to implement it worldwide, even if it means that people are going to continue living in misery and unhappiness. After seeing all these benefits, we came to the conclusion that Keynes wasn’t crazy after all and his assumptions that lecture would be the greatest challenge of the 21 century were correct.
Imagine a leisure revolution that in future (2050) may bring new laws saying that people should work only 15 hours per week. Wouldn’t that be amazing? Apparently, real leisure is as good for our brain as vitamin C is to our bodies. However, in order to accomplish this one day, we must first ask ourselves – do we really want to work less than the average 8 h per day? According to worldwide statistics from people who were asked this question, the answer is: ‘Absolutely yes, please.’ What’s your answer?
The second important question is how to manage to work less than the average 8 h per day. The answer to this question is more complicated because it’s related to investing money in education, training in cash for spare time, developing a better retirement system and higher provisions for childcare and parental leave and many other sections. However, although it seems hard, it’s not impossible. And we need to make the first step towards breaking the old system. Before starting everything, we must all understand that spare time is not a luxury or a vice but necessary vitamin to our brains and bodies. Why living miserable and unhappy when we can manage to live a meaningful and beautiful life with more spare time on our hands?