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.