A shorter working week for many people is a fantasy, reserved for later life, a transition to retirement or if you’ve won the lottery. Many work long hours and are encouraged to work even more, often in order to keep their job, whilst colleagues around them are victims of the latest restructure. In times such as these, people can be made to feel lucky that they have a job and that their commitment to the company and increased productivity will result in increased growth. That’s what I hear many of my friends who work in large companies tell me they are led to believe.
Last week hundreds of people turned up at LSE (including me) to listen to the New Economics Foundation talk [talk available on video and podcast] on the shorter working week, based on their report 21 hours. The speakers Professor Juliet Shor referencing her latest book True Wealth and other recent research, Professor Robert Skidelsky drawing from research for his new book which will be published later this year by Penguin and Professor Tim Jackson summarising and reflecting and responding held enlightening, fascinating and almost completely convergent viewpoints. The 21 hour week could
What strikes me as underpinning all of these great outcomes to a shorter working week is more fairly distributing working hours. As I now know from this session, our continuous obsession with productivity doesn’t increase growth and doesn’t increase productivity. However productivity as an obsession, means there is way to go to change the way we think and operate for a new world of work. As stimulus to think about what that new world of a shorter working week would look like, I’ve thought of some ways we could enjoy our new working life. We could
I am sure there are others to add to the list, please let me know. For a starting point I can see that this would make each individual
The development of a shorter working week seems very fit for a social co-creation project, where we start to explore ways to make this happen. If anybody is interested in starting a small group meet up about this, let me know.