Carlos Slim, the second-richest person in the world (with an estimated net worth of $79 billion) believes that people should work less … but longer. The way he sees it, people could work three days per week, putting in 11 hours each shift while working well into their 70s.
His rationale is that a rested and relaxed work force is more productive. And why not? With more days off than on, you’re bound to be more prepared to handle the stress that inevitability comes your way during the average work week.
So, is Carlos Slim right? Should we shorten the work week while retiring later in life? I actually like the idea. But before we all start waltzing into the bosses’ office demanding a change, let’s consider the pros and cons of doing so.
Pros of Shorter Work Week
I have a neighbor who works in a large group home. He used to work 40 hours per week, taking five eight-hour shifts. But management went to all the shift workers several years back and suggested that scheduling would work better if employees undertook longer shifts over fewer days.
My neighbor’s daily shift increased by two hours to 10, but he got an extra day off as a result — reducing his work week from five days down to four. He could have chosen any day off during the week, but chose Wednesday because it was when his partner often had to go for medical visits.
By tacking on two hours at the beginning or end of each work day, my neighbor was able to gain an extra day off each work week which added dramatically to his quality of life. It’s hard to deny the appeal of having three days off each week — a 50% increase over what most of us get!
Carlos Slim’s proposal is even more progressive because his plan would likely require increased manpower to cover all the hours. For example, if three employees were required on site 24 hours a day, you’d need a total of nine staff to cover the entire day under a five-day, eight-hour-per-day system. However, under a three-day, 11-hour-per-day system, you’d need to hire two additional employees to provide the same coverage during a typical work week. That would mean a significant drop in unemployment.
And the benefits don’t stop there…