In her book “White Collar Sweatshop,” author Jill Andresky Fraser writes about a culture of American workers being on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even as salaries and benefits decrease. That’s because, despite the evidence, we’re programmed to believe that working longer and harder begets great achievement. But what if working less is the real key to success?
In this article on CNN.com, Peggy Drexler wrote about the experiences of some companies (and the State of Utah) when they switched to a four day work week. For the most part, the experiences reported were very positive with benefits to the employees (happier at work) and the organization (increased productivity and better talent retention).
How could this be?
“They were using the extra day off to spend time with their families, do errands and take long weekends away, but also to schedule appointments they might otherwise have taken an afternoon off to attend,” Gina said. People ended up taking fewer vacations days, and sick days disappeared almost entirely.
The article reports that we have been talking about a 4-day work week since 1950!
Yet we, in America, typically work well over 40 hours a week. Some jobs (like production support DBAs) are effectively 24×7 jobs with no real breaks. And with the advent of secure VPN and now smart phones it seems to be getting worse.
Hopefully, that is just an impression I have and not what is really happening.
What do you think?
I for one, am all for everybody cutting back to four days at the office.
(BTW – Don’t forget to read the whole article).
P.S. Thanks to Jonathan Fields for tweeting this article.
P.P.S. Want more – check out my earlier rant on a this topic.