Billionaire Carlos Slim pushes a 3-day workweek
The second-richest person in the world says people should work 10 or 11 hours a day, and then have more time to enjoy life.
Working a shorter week would likely make most people feel happier and even more productive, experts say. And research suggests it may also help boost employment rates.
Mexican telecom billionaire Carlos Slim (pictured) -- the second-richest person in the world after Bill Gates -- recently advocated a shorter workweek for the world's corporate clock-watchers.
"With three work days a week, we would have more time to relax, for quality of life," Slim told a business conference in Asuncion, Paraguay, in remarks reported Monday by the Financial Times. Having four days off would also be a business opportunity for some people, in that it would generate new leisure activities, he said.
But don't go slacking just yet. Slim says people should work 10 or 11 hours a day in those three days. He also says retirement ages should rise to 70 or 75.
Slim may be on to something with his idea, according to some experts. In fact, he's just the latest to make headlines in a long-running debate on the length of the ideal workweek.
"Burnout is huge predictor of loss of productivity," says Rana Florida, CEO of consulting and research company Creative Class Group and author of "Upgrade: Taking Your Life and Work from Ordinary to Extraordinary."
The 40-hour workweek in the U.S. is not some "magical number" for productivity, she says. "You don't have to chain people to their desk."
Shorter working hours make sense in particular for people in highly stressful jobs like emergency first responders, and those in creative fields, Florida says.
Most other countries have shorter workweeks than the U.S., according to recent analysis from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. And workplace productivity doesn't increase with hours worked, the OECD concluded. Workers in Greece clock 2,034 hours a year versus 1,397 in Germany, for example, but the latter's productivity is 70 percent higher.
"Quality of life, stress reduction, and engagement in our work increase with shorter workweeks," says Steve Langerud, a workplace consultant based in Grinnell, Iowa. That said, if income dropped with hours worked, shorter workweeks could create problems. The average household disposable income in Germany is also a lot higher ($30,721 a year) than Greece ($19,095).
Countries with the largest reduction in work hours had the largest increase in employment rates since the Great Recession, says Dean Baker, co-director of the left-of-center Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. "Countries like Germany stand out," he says. "It's been remarkably successful." The unemployment rate in Germany (5.2 percent) is down more than 4 percentage points since before the 2008 recession, while the U.S. unemployment rate (6.1 percent) is still more than 1.5 percentage points higher than it was before the recession.
Cutting the workweek roughly in half could help to address overwork, unemployment, overconsumption, high carbon emissions, low well-being, entrenched inequalities, and the lack of time to simply to enjoy life, according to a report from the London-based, left-of-center think tank New Economics Foundation. "The deputy mayor of Gothenburg [in Sweden] is trialing a 30-hour week for some of his staff because he thinks that's about the limit for productive time," says Anna Coote, head of social policy at NEF.
A shorter workweek doesn't necessarily lead to happier employees, however. Long working hours might not be as negatively related to worker well-being as predicted by other studies, according to a study called "Work Shorter, Be Happier?" published last year in the Journal of Happiness Studies. While people welcomed the reduction in working hours, those reductions had no impact on job and life satisfaction, researcher Robert Rudolf, assistant professor in the Division of International Studies at Korea University, found.
Five-day workweeks may lead to exhaustion on Mondays and coasting on Fridays, but that's more likely if you don't like your job or feel engaged with your work, or if you don't believe that it has some higher purpose, says Rusty Rueff, career and workplace expert at career site Glassdoor.
"We've all been in places where we've pulled all-nighters and we're going back to the pizza box for the second time and the pizza's cold," he says. "You sort of hate that you're there, but at the same time there's nowhere else you'd rather be."
More from MarketWatch
My productivity equaled a five eight hour day week with room to spare because I'd lose an hour starting up and an hour winding down, but had longer productive periods in between that time compared to the eight hour shifts.
My home life was better. I spent time with my kids, and when I did chose to make some extra overtime money, I still enjoyed three days off in that week.
I had so much spare time that I barely regarded vacation pay as a benefit, since I barely needed it in order to have a real life.
It was fantastic.
Wow a billionaire that does not think their employees are their corporate owned slaves?
What next raises for the completely broke Middle Class, increase coverage of benefits...NAH!
The 185 familes in the U.S that own and run / ruin the country would never agree. Do you know how hard it is to try and get by on $25 billion.? The few evil billionaires that own the lap dogs in Congress are just a new for of organized crime (families)
Lets not get crazy with a 3 day work week idea. The loser Trust Fund babies of these billionaires can't possibly get by on their billions in inheritance. These losers scare me the most. They have never worked a day in their life. Talk about welfare receiptiants.
Maybe someone will come up with another crazy idea... Billionaires that actually pay taxes? Corporations that stop paying off Congress and eliminate the tax avoidance / evasion. NAH...Corporations in the U.S get $1.3 Trillion in tax evasion/ I mean tax breaks, I really mean Tax evasion/ criminals. The criminals are in control. Stop the criminals... Term limits and publically paid elections and not a privately owned Congress. The the main sources of EVIL.
Why spend $800 billion on Defense every year when Congress has vaporized the Middle Class.
I think the work week should be 32 hrs. regardless! We need to go back to family morales.
"With three work days a week, we would have more time to relax, for quality of life," Slim told a business conference in Asuncion, Paraguay
Only if you are a salaried employee (getting paid the same amount regardless of hours worked).
An hourly wage employee would end up homeless or having to work one or more additional jobs (that don't exist in this economy) to cover living expenses. Living paycheck to paycheck is stressful, ask anyone (even more so with multiple jobs to juggle).
I have always said it.... 4 Days 10 hours a day = 40 hours leaving an extra day for people to enjoy. The body and brain needs 3 days to rest.
Studies show that when you workout your body requires a whole week to recover from the work out... so why shouldn't the same be expected from working?
Really?, so why he has the mexican workers in Samborn's (bigest chain of restaurants owned by him) working 12 hours per day 6 days a keek standing in their feet for only USD 20.00 dollars per day in Mexico City ? and if people want to go to the bathroom as a client or any other happen to be in the store-restaurant has to show the ticket of something purchased there in orther to have the right to use the bathroom otherways you have to pay the worker there $2.00 pesos for a limitted amount of toilet paper or a towel to dry your hands. I am so surpraised to read this non sense article maybe he is under the influence of a drug to publishing this because has been the King of explotation of the mexican workers since he grtaduated from the Public Mexican University in Mexico City.
This men easily sold his soul to the Davil for money and now he potrey himself as a good samaritan? Really? I woudl like he publish this in Spanish in Mexico City to see the reaction of the ones that really know who is he...!
Hmmm we could live 20,000 times better than people 100 years ago and only work 10 years.
Seems like we are wasting a lot of productivity and energy on products that break down after 1 or 2 years use. We could reduce industrial use of energy by 1,000 fold merely by requiring things to be built for 1,000 to 2,000 year use. Imagine a car lasting 2,000 years the same energy that builds today's cars that last about 15 years would then build cars lasting 2,000 years over a 100 times in building energy.
You can build light bulbs with filaments that do not have weak spots to burn out easy and remove the oxygen in the light bulb with burning a bit of aluminum to take out the air. Then run the bulb on DC current and it will last forever not two months.
Pretty much we are wasting time and energy on building things that have shorter and shorter life times. If we all just work ten years and build things that last thousands of years we would have a much better life style. Imagine garbage dumps becoming a thing of the past as we do not throw away things at the drop of a hat.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).
Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More
More Market News
|There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.|
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'