For instance, workers calling in sick costs the economy an estimated $84 billion annually. By having employees take more time off, they’re going to be better rested and hopefully healthier when they do come to work.
In addition, only 25% of Americans took all of their vacation days in 2014. Implementing a shorter work week would allow companies to reduce the number of vacation days offered without reducing the number of paid days off. Since we don’t seem to use all our vacation days, but do use our weekends (extended by quite a bit under a three-day system) it would likely lead to more relaxation than more vacation days would.
Carlos Slim definitely understands the phrase, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
Cons of Shorter Work Week
Marriages would fail, alcoholism would rise and mass anarchy would prevail.
I’m being facetious, of course, but some people are better off having more of their time structured and organized. For some, the extra two days would be used to take up new hobbies and spend more time with the kids and family. But for others it could mean more time to get bored, leading to drug use or worse, violent criminal activity. After all, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”
However, the biggest question raised by the shorter work week is the question of expense. How will society as a whole pay for this extra leisure time advocated by Carlos Slim?
While it’s possible that employers could figure out how to cover off the gaps in coverage created by a three-day work week without increasing the number of employees, it’s unlikely to be anything that could be maintained on an ongoing basis. Any long-term plan to survive on the same number of employees would ultimately result in employees being overworked, exhausted and ultimately absent from that work — the exact opposite of what was intended. So companies would be forced to address the immediate increase in monetary cost.
A Shorter Work Week Makes Sense
I believe that Carlos Slim understands that a three-day work week is an added cost for most companies. However, I also believe he sees the long-term economic benefits outweighing the costs once society as a whole has adopted his radical plan for capitalism.
If you think his ideas are the thoughts of an old rich guy disconnected from the real world, I think you’ve missed the point — even a billionaire 72 times over can see the western world is overworked and under-rested.
If you think he’s crazy, go ahead and add me to that list because I couldn’t agree more. It’s time workers took back the asylum.
As of this writing, Will Ashworth did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities.