The world’s richest man says we need to shorten the workweek. Easy for him to say, but who really wants to disagree?
Mexican multibillionaire Carlos Slim has been advocating for a three 11-hour days while also predicting that many of us will work into our 70s. Or, in other words, Slim, a workaholic worth almost $80 billion, believes work needs to be made more sustainable for the long haul. The extra leisure time would lead to happier and more productive workers, he has said.
Beware when billionaires start promulgating big labor ideas — and condemning the rest of us to work into old age. But the concept of fewer workdays is not only intuitively pleasing, it’s already gaining approval across corporate America as employers focus less on where and when one’s work is done and more on the end product. In a recent survey of 1,051 organizations with 50 or more employees, the Society of Human Resource Management found that 43 percent of employers allowed at least some people to compress their workweek. That’s up from 38 percent in 2008.
And there’s some strategic sense to shortening the workweek.
For one, the compressed week is a good fit for congested regions — like, for instance, Boston — because of the cost of commuting, according to Thomas Kochan, professor of management and co-director of the Institute for Work and Employment Research at MIT.
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