3 Day Weekends Can Future Proof Work

A more efficient work week comes from rest, relaxation, and working less. We’ve looked at the idea that a more relaxed approach to work makes things better for everybody before (maybe to the point where I sound anti-work). Now there are more arguments for a shorter work week that are worth looking at.

For one, it can help keep people employed as more automation occurs across all sectors. And another reason is that it can save money and the environment by reducing the time spent commuting and running an office.

It’s happened before. For example, in 2007 Utah redefined the working week for state employees, with extended hours Monday to Thursday meaning it could eliminate Fridays entirely. In its first 10 months, the move saved the state at least $1.8 million in energy costs. Fewer working days meant less office lighting, less air conditioning and less time spent running computers and other equipment — all without even reducing the total number of hours worked.

For one day a week, thousands of commuters were able to stay at home. If the reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions from travel were included, the state estimated a saving of more than 12,000 tons of CO2 each year.

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Economic Equality and Social Time Make People Happy

Modern economists and too many politicians argue that economic growth in itself will make people happier. They are wrong. Economic growth doesn’t bring happiness to societies, but decreasing economic inequality does. Another (unsurprising) element also raises people’s happiness: spend more time being social than working. I can only imagine the confusion people who follow the Chicago school are experiencing after reading this paragraph.

The modern world has been built upon the idea that a bigger GDP causes a bigger GNH, which has led to problems we need to address. Automation is causing unemployment of repetitive tasks that used to be a stable career. On top of that, cities are suffering from growing inequality. So what do we do as a society? Jonathan Rose ponders this question at the Atlantic.

But there is a deeper reason. Happiness is tied to what Deaton calls emotionally enriching social experiences. Kahneman says, “The very best thing that can happen to people is to spend time with other people they like. That is when they are happiest.” The way people spend their time is also a critical component of sense of well-being. In another study Kahneman and his colleagues tracked how people experience their day by asking them to record events in fifteen-minute intervals and evaluate them. Walking, making love, exercise, playing, and reading ranked as their most pleasurable activities. Their least happy activities? Work, commuting, child care, and personal computer time. How many people really enjoy a night of plowing through endless emails?

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Get Some Rest


You might think that productive people never stop working and don’t get any rest, that means you might be wrong. All of us need to take breaks to refresh ourselves and permit our bodies and minds to reset. In the modern working environment it’s easy to get pressured to always be busy, but you should try your hardest to not be. Take a breather and relax on a regular basis and you just might find that (almost ironically) you’ll be more productive.

Why does modern work culture undervalue rest and encourage nonstop busyness?
It seems self-evident that more work equals more output. This is true of machines, so why shouldn’t it be true of us? Well it’s not. We have adopted industrial-age attitudes, and they don’t really work for us. There is also a long-standing assumption that not working hard is morally suspect.

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Thanks to Delaney!

Get Your Fika On

Coffee breaks in North America tend to be more about coffee than a break. In Scandinavia they focus on the break. In fact, they even have a special word for it: fika. They also add baked goods to the mix.

The reason the fika concept is important is that Sweden has the happiest workers around the world. There is no doubt that their fika practice contributes to their happiness at the workplace. So for a good day at work take breaks.

“It is the moment that you take a break, often with a cup of coffee, but alternatively with tea, and find a baked good to pair with it.” explains Anna Brones who co-wrote the book Fika: The Art of The Swedish Coffee Break (2015). “In our own [US] culture, where coffee has come to be more about grabbing a 16-ounce-grande-whatever, in a paper cup to go, coffee is more about fueling up and going fast. In Sweden, coffee is something to look forward to, a moment where everything else stops and you savor the moment,” she writes on Apartment Therapy. “In today’s modern world we crave a little bit of that; we want an excuse to slow down.”

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Working Hard Isn’t All There Is

We are often told that the key to success is all in working hard, but that isn’t the case according to new studies. Hard work may get only so far. So instead of sweating bullets at your work, try to find what your good at and apply yourself there. It turns out that people who hire favour those who are perceived to be “naturals” instead of those who just work hard.

Why is this good news? Well, just relax a little and focus more on your own time instead of giving all of your limited time on this Earth to the company you work at.

“We may risk overlooking highly qualified candidates who possess various valued achievements, in favor of apparent ‘naturals’ who may actually be weaker,” Tsay tells Co.Design. “By recognizing our implicit preference for naturals, we can become better equipped to identify and hire the people who actually possess the achievements we value and who are more likely to help us attain greater success in the long run.”

Whether or not the naturalness bias holds true outside the lab, and just how it might vary based on an evaluator’s own distinct personality traits, is unclear. And of course its potential employment impact breaks both ways. Knowing that experienced professionals tend to side with innate talent, for instance, suggests it might be advantageous to flash some natural skills during investor pitches or job interviews, instead of focusing on dedication.

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