Working Less for a Better World

happy workers in a factory

Do you feel like you’re working too much? You are. Decades ago economists and influential thinkers projected that leisure would be the biggest problem during the 21st century for the workforce. Sadly they were wrong because they didn’t predict that the 1980s we’ve seen policies that favour profit abound all else. This meant that the push for more leisure floundered.

Not forever though. As work issues increasingly invade our leisure time people are starting to push back. This is good to see! With more jobs being automated the justification for overworking people seems less valid.

Less all work a little less, here are some reasons why.

Accidents? Overtime is deadly. Long workdays lead to more errors: Tired surgeons are more prone to slip-ups, and soldiers who get too little shuteye are more prone to miss targets. From Chernobyl to the Space Shuttle Challenger, overworked managers often prove to have played a fatal role in disasters. It’s no coincidence that the financial sector, which triggered the biggest disaster of the last decade, is absolutely drowning in overtime.

Climate change? A worldwide shift to a shorter workweek could cut

the CO2 emitted this century by half. Countries with a shorter workweek have a smaller ecological footprint. Consuming less starts with working less – or, better yet – with consuming our prosperity in the form of leisure.

Unemployment? Obviously, you can’t simply chop a job up into smaller pieces. The labor market isn’t a game of musical chairs in which anyone can fit into any seat and all we need to do is dole out places. Nevertheless, researchers at the International Labour Organization

have concluded that work sharing – in which two part-time employees share a workload traditionally assigned to one full-time worker – went a long way toward resolving the last crisis. Particularly in times of recession with spiking unemployment and production exceeding demand, sharing jobs can help to soften the blow.

Read more.

Thanks to Delaney!

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