104 Responses to “The Four Day Work Week” 1. AVS says: July 28th, 2009 at 2:33 pm Agree with this but why stick to a 40 hour work week? Reduce it to 35 hours. 2. david says: July 28th, 2009 at 2:33 pm In the short term the staggered week does not improve building energy efficiency. In the long term it could be substantially better, because you build based on the 80% of people that are there on any given workweek, rather than for the full workforce. Smaller buildings = less energy use, in addition to the fewer resources used to put the building up in the first place. 3. Drew Miller says: July 28th, 2009 at 2:34 pm Why not just stagger the workweeks on a building-by-building basis, so you get the energy efficiency and the traffic efficiency? You’d also be flattening the peak load across the week, further increasing efficiency. This, of course, assumes that people don’t sit at home and crank their own AC. It could actually be having a net-negative overall effect on energy and pollution. 4. acorvid says: July 28th, 2009 at 2:38 pm Wouldn’t this also help economies by tending to boost spending in recreation and hospitality industries: another day to play, a longer weekend resulting more destination travel, etc.? 5. harlequin says: July 28th, 2009 at 2:40 pm Or you could have a shorter work week by cutting Friday or Monday from the schedule and not replacing them in the earlier days, which would put us more in line with more civilized countries and help move the labor economy in the right direction for the future. 6. Mo says: July 28th, 2009 at 2:45 pm The thing that sucks about staggered work weeks is that it will have a negative impact on people’s social lives. Even if you managed to get the same schedule as your spouse/s. o. , you’ll likely have different off days from your friends. That would suck. 7. Mo says: July 28th, 2009 at 2:46 pm Unless, you did something like have M-R schedules and T-F schedules. Most everyone gets Sat and Sun off, and traffic is lessened on Mondays and Fridays. 8. Gatchaman says: July 28th, 2009 at 2:48 pm This would have a negative impact on countless cafes, pizzerias, sub-shops, and bars. 9. diamond joe quimby says: July 28th, 2009 at 2:49 pm A fully staggered work week would be impossible to achieve without a significant overhaul of most jurisdictions’ legal codes. Though arbitrary, the five-day week has acquired legal significance in all sorts of ways that would not be easily discarded. 0. Sam Z says: July 28th, 2009 at 2:50 pm Or there’s the plan my wife has long advocated of 5-day weeks with 3-day weekends each week. You only lose about 7 work days per year. You could probably still figure out some kind of staggering, and you’d have another day of the week to name! 11. Matt says: July 28th, 2009 at 2:53 pm I agree with this, but I also think its time for our country to start what will inevitably a long debate about fewer hours in the work week. Every time in our history we’ve shortened the working week, one of the key issues was a growing surplus of labor that needed to be soaked up. We’ve addressed that through longer vacations, earlier retirements, and fewer working hours in the week. Well, we look to be heading into a medium to long term period of pretty high surplus labor. Unemployment rates are moving over 10% and they’re gonna stay high for a while. It may take a long long time for our economy to recover enough to get us back to full employment based on the same yearly hours per worker figure that existed prior to the recession. There are plenty of benefits beyond economic ones for working fewer hours and taking more vacation, but its also worth considering the economic enefits of it. It could help restore low unemployment rates faster, thereby helping overall recovery. 12. Hector says: July 28th, 2009 at 2:55 pm Re: which would put us more in line with more civilized countries As usual, the hipster’s answer to everything is “More work, and less play”. Particularly if that ‘play’ involves drugs, sex, and discussing Foucault over pork chops in a coffeehouse. As the late great president of Tanzania, real socialism doesn’t involve more free time and less work. That’s hipster (fake) socialism, a pale substitute for the real thing. Real socialism involves hard labor and shared sacrifice. It is a creed for tough men and tough women, not for hipster cosmopolites. 13. Hector says: July 28th, 2009 at 2:56 pm Re: As usual, the hipster’s answer to everything is “More work, and less play”. Sorry, correct that. Real Christians and real Socialists believe in More Work, and Less Play. Hipsters believe in Less Work, and More Play. 14. Drew says: July 28th, 2009 at 2:56 pm Before I labeled the change from a 10-hour workday to an 8-hour workday “relatively painless,” I’d ask the workers effected by the change whether they found it to be “relatively painless. It may be the same number of hours per week, but the physical and mental stress of a 10-hour day may be disproportionately larger than that of an 8-hour day. In my experience, that’s definitely been the case. 15. Adam says: July 28th, 2009 at 2:57 pm They serve pork chops in coffeehouses, Hector? Pork chops are practically the state meat where I’m from and I’ve never seen that. But your knowledge of hipster culture is far more than mine, I’ll agree. 16. Hector says: July 28th, 2009 at 2:58 pm Adam, It’s a reference to Yglesias’ habit of writing blog posts about how best to cook pork chops. 17. Eric says: July 28th, 2009 at 2:59 pm Or we can just reduce the workweek to 32 hours. Americans fetishize work too much – at some point we have to start channeling extra productivity into more leisure time instead of higher GDP. We’re four times as productive as we were in the 1970’s yet we work even more hours – there’s something wrong here. 18. Hector says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:05 pm Re: Americans fetishize work too much – at some point we have to start channeling extra productivity into more leisure time instead of higher GDP. I write something and within five minutes the cosmopolitans write in to prove me right. 9. Anonymous says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:07 pm Adam: And Foucault isn’t exactly “play” in any meaningful sense. And I think Yglesias’s sympathies lie with Analytical Philosophy over those jerks in Continental Philosophy. And really, it strikes me as weird how a lot of antimodernists conflate modernism with postmodernism. They have a lot of similarities, and postmodernism is easier to make fun of, but often enough they hold exactly opposite positions on precisely the issues that antimodernists are concerned about. 20. demisod says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:08 pm Americans fetishize work too much – at some point we have to start channeling extra productivity into more leisure time instead of higher GDP. We’re four times as productive as we were in the 1970’s yet we work even more hours – there’s something wrong here. Haven’t you seen the stats for the exploding incomes of the top one percent? Where do you think that comes from? Which is why the 4-day work week won’t catch on. Our oligarchs don’t want the proles to get too big a wiff of leisure. 21. Steve LaBonne says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:08 pm Why are you wanking here instead of working, Hector? 22. Fencedude says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:09 pm As usual, the hipster’s answer to everything is “More work, and less play”. Particularly if that ‘play’ involves drugs, sex, and discussing Foucault over pork chops in a coffeehouse. Hector, do me a favor, what color is the sky outside your window right now? 23. cynickal says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:11 pm As a guy who works in the electrical field, this is bad for me. My paycheck depends on your consumption. 24. hipster says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:11 pm What Hector understands to be true work isn’t something “hipsters” do at all, and it isn’t apportioned into 5 work days with weekends off. What Hector’s Hipsters do isn’t work at all by his lights, so I wonder why he gives a shit how it gets carved up. 25. Poptarts says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:11 pm That’s hipster (fake) socialism, a pale substitute for the real thing. Real socialism involves hard labor and shared sacrifice. It is a creed for tough men and tough women, not for hipster cosmopolites. Hell yeah. I’m all for Hector’s hard-core socialism. 60 hour work weeks and no Calvin Kleins allowed. And hipsters would be ostracized on a continual basis. My question is whether not Christian rock would be frowned upon. If not I’m in! 26. Poptarts says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:14 pm Why are you wanking here instead of working, Hector? He’s spreading the word, cosmopolite, so stick it if you don’t like it. 27. Mike says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:16 pm I work 4 10-hour days and love having 3-day weekends every week (fridays off). It allows me to do much more weekend getaways and other projects than I did before. My team has to provide coverage 24? 7x365 so we broke the team into several shifts. Some people work 8a-4p or 4p-12a or 12a-8a M-F. Some work 7p-5am Sunday night-Thursday morning or Monday night-Friday morning and others work their 40 hours Friday night-Monday morning and have the rest of the week off. Most work at home and we are based all over the US (virtual team). We utilize a variety of technologies (audio bridges, VOIP, cell phones, meeting software (net/live meeting), instant messaging/SMS, web camera, etc. ) to keep the team connected. Conference calls and training presentations are recorded and packaged for all shifts to take advantage. The flexibility of hours and locations has been wonderful. I encourage other organizations to give it a try. 28. fostert says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:18 pm “Real Christians and real Socialists believe in More Work, and Less Play. I’m having a hard time making that jive with my experiences around the world. Unless we use a tautological definition of “real socialists” meaning “those that believe in more work and less play. ” Consider these two socialist countries: Vietnam and Laos. In Laos, people rarely work more than six hours a day. Three in the morning, three in the late afternoon, with a two hour nap in the middle. In Vietnam, people think they’re being lazy if they only work fourteen hours straight. The Japanese and Americans aren’t very socialist, yet they work much harder than most of the world. The French are much more socialist, yet they hardly work at all. And that’s when they’re not on strike. Help me out here. 29. James Gary says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:22 pm 60 hour work weeks and no Calvin Kleins allowed. However, I imagine John Calvins are strongly encouraged. 30. Tim says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:35 pm I’ve worked 4 tens before — I hated it. But I wasn’t particularly liking that job, which played a part. I work 5 tens now, and I love it, but there is no way I could get my work done in 4? 10. Maybe 4? 12, but I’m not sure I’d like that. I work in primary education: I’m not sure this idea would really work there. Young minds find 6? 5* hours hard enough. The current thinking is we need to extend that to 8? 5. Thus, we either keep our current (kind of short) school hours on 8? 4, or we really push little ones beyond their ability to concentrate with 4? 9. I suppose you could just use 4? 6 and eliminate almost all of summer vacation. If the kid’s school schedule stays the same, it would be an interesting social experiment to see how the families cope with different schedules. I suppose parents would like having the kids gone for a day that they have off, but what do I know, I don’t have any kids. I suspect 5-day-a-week kids would be truant an awful lot on the fifth day as parents decided to do something else on that day. That could be a real problem. I’m rambling and guess I don’t really have a point, other than there are all kinds of ramifications to this that need to be thought through — which is why is so hard to get momentum behind. * It’s actually 6. 75 hours, but the average 8 hour day is 8. 5 or 9, too, so I’m rounding off. 31. christina says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:37 pm Our office is allowing 4- 9s (every other Friday off) and 4 tens, but us dual income working parents are really affected by this. My daughter goes to bed at 7:00PM and I do not want to miss seeing her each night. Not to mentioned having your children in daycare for that long during the 4 days. 32. rmwarnick says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:41 pm One glitch here in Utah– lots of people didn’t get the word, and didn’t react well at the DMV and other state offices after taking time off from their own jobs only to find the Utah government closed on Friday. This went on for at least a month after the switch to a four-day week. 33. Miji says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:41 pm Actually if spouses had different days it could be beneficial. If one had off Friday and the other had off Monday. They could each use those days to watch the kids and get chores and errands done. This would allow them to use Sat-Sun to really relax and spend time together and they would only need to pay for day care Tues, Wed, and and Thurs. 34. Dan'l says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:44 pm Really? That qualifies as worth printing? 30% of this article is intro to a quote. 60% of the article is someone else’s article. and then a short outro? Nice, good work. I could make 75 of these blurbs a day by typing intros and outros. Does Yglesias write novel summaries and CD cover reviews to? 5. Desmond Wright says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:45 pm Why not take a Wednesday off instead of Friday, 10 hour days are a real pain! 36. VR says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:49 pm The days off would have to be staggered. As a working person, a big problem I have is that all the services I want to consume are only operational when I’m at work — government offices, etc. If everyone got one day a week off work but some people still worked every working day, we might lose some of that fancy urban planning efficiency, but it’d still be better from a labour point of view. 37. Heather says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:51 pm My husband did this 40 hour a week, 4 day a week work schedule. In a word, it was HORRIBLE. If you have a life outside of work during the week, you can forget it. Now, if they reduced it to 32 or 36 hours a week that might be something to consider. 38. Shaun says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:53 pm Does the study factor in the additional air conditioning, etc. used by people who are now staying at home? I’m for a 4 day work week and think it’s a great idea for people to have more family time, but I don’t know if the energy efficiency argument is the strongest reason. Perhaps to justify it to the corporate bottom line, but not the overall environment. 39. Mark Goldes says: July 28th, 2009 at 3:59 pm Aim at a 20 hour week with the missing income replaced by investments. Two 10 hour days! See The Brooklyn Project on the website. 40. Ben says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:02 pm The biggest problem I have with the workweek is the way it breaks the natural human sleep cycle. It’s hard to wake up at the same time everyday, and for good biological reason. We have a 25-hour internal clock, meaning that every day we would naturally wake up,etc, one hour later than the previous day. For this reason, I love working for myself. Even though I didn’t wake up until noon today, I’m going to put in eight to ten hours on variou projects that I need to do. If I need a break somewhere in there, I’ll take it. It means I rarely feel exhausted and an generally more productive than I would have been otherwise. I think a self-directed schedule like that could work well for many employees too. As long as the set number of hours were completed each week, they could be done whenever was most effective and convenient for the employee. Critical “on-call” hours could always be arranged too, if needed. 41. Marc Hummel says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:04 pm Dan’l, Where’s the link to your blog? Criticizing is a lot easier than creating something. 42. JD says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:05 pm The Japanese and Americans aren’t very socialist, yet they work much harder than most of the world. The French are much more socialist, yet they hardly work at all. And that’s when they’re not on strike. This is certainly one of the reasons why America is the richest nation in the world. Most other countries have decided that a certain level of wealth is good enough, and as technology makes them able to achieve that level of wealth with less work they just take the rest of the time off. Americans say “Great! I have gotten all the wealth I used to get with 8 hours of work in just 6. Now let me work another 2 hours and increase my total level of wealth. ” Certainly this seems more a matter of preference than a strict right/wrong answer situation, but I think the American solution is superior. 43. Cyrus says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:06 pm Why the hell won’t it post my comments? I’ve written two so far, and they were just biting, believe me! 44. Paul says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:07 pm I’m a salaried employee. My company routinely gets 45-48 hours out of me with the 5 day work week. I rarely leave right at 5pm. If the work week was 4 days no way in heck I’m working more than 42 hours. So I don’t think the typical white collar company will find this as helping their bottom line. 45. wiley says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:09 pm Four six hour days should be sufficient. 46. JMS says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:13 pm I third the suggestion that this MIGHT be a good idea for the childless (although I question how much additional productivity you’d get out of those extra 2 hours a day–I think if I did that on a daily basis, my brain would be fried), but is terrible for those with children under say the age of 13. You can’t “make up” the extra time on the extra day you have off–children need the time in regular intervals on a daily basis, and the amount of time they spend away from parents in a 8? 5 situation is already longer than optimal (factor in travel time to school or daycare, and an extra unpaid hour for lunch, and for the kids it’s already 10? 5) Can you imagine leaving your kids in daycare 12 hours a day? I think even the most pro-daycare parents would balk at that. No, not a good idea. 47. Cyrus says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:15 pm Fuck it. My wit is wasted on you philistines. To summarize: my office has a staggered work hours not to save money on utilities but mainly so people can get their free time in bigger, more convenient lumps, Hector rather amusingly claimed to be a dead guy (he probably left a word out, but it’s funnier to imagine him as the reincarnation a Tanzanian president), and Dan’l has apparently never seen a blog before today, and/or imagines the production cost of one is a lot higher than it actually is. 48. Four-day work week as a sustainable option « says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:17 pm ... ] 28, 2009 · Leave a Comment Scientific American reports that the a four-day work week can have positive economic benefits and help reduce [... ] 49. crease says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:17 pm No wonder Utah is the Number 1 state for online porn…….. in money spent. 50. pseudonymous in nc says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:20 pm From experience, the four-day 40hr working week generally means that the fifth day is mostly a write-off. The hilarious thing about Hector the uncreative anachronism is that his ideal working classes worked like his imaginary “hipsters”. Standard working hours date from industrialization — when you’re working at a mill, the machines keep running, and the workforce has to adapt to its needs. (Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844. ) In the pre-industrial working world, the weavers would work more like farmers, according to the necessary tasks at hand. 51. Mark says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:25 pm Life is not for working. Life is for playing. Every minute you spend working for money is wasted. Instead of thinking of ways to rearrange people’s work hours, we should be thinking of ways to make work unnecessary. Hector: There are many kinds of socialists. Maybe a tiny percentage of them are the weirdos you describe. But personally I wouldn’t associate a desire for sacrifice and suffering with socialism one way or the other. JD: The American solution, as you call it, is not superior. Capitalism is repressive and conformist. It devalues everything truly worthwhile. Until Americans stop worshiping work and greed, we will not be a civilized nation. 52. Just a thought says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:29 pm I think it’s more important right now to focus on job creation. We can talk about how to improve the workplace once people have a place to work. 53. Sarah says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:30 pm Working in IT, I would be satisfied with a five day work week. 54. joe says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:32 pm Why don’t we do like most of Europe and work less than 40 hours a week based on 4 or 5 days and I also would like their 5 weeks of paid vacation per year. I would also like their free healthcare and ultra-modern transit system and infrastructure. I guess that makes me un-American. Oh well, call me socialist! They live much better lives than we do! I am always jealous every time I am overseas. 55. Jase says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:34 pm Are there really that many sissies out there that can’t handle working a 10 hour day? 6. Dani says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:36 pm http://www. antenna. nl/~waterman/gorz. html Read Andre Gorz’ “Critique of Economic Reason”. 57. Adam says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:43 pm Are there really that many sissies out there that can’t handle working a 10 hour day? I’ve done it during crunch time, but it’s not exactly fun. Get up at 6, run or work out, shower and eat breakfast, get to the office at 7:30. 10 hours plus the hour lunch (bosses always want to go somewhere to talk business, though that doesn’t count in the hours of course), and you get off at 6:30, home at 7, shower and cook something and you’re done eating at 8. That’s two hours of free time if you plan on getting a full night’s sleep. Personally, the long weekend doesn’t make up for the other four days just being grinding and exhausting. 58. Nanotyrannus says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:44 pm There was a short blurb about something similar in Time Magazine a year or so ago about a college that had gone to a four day week to save money during the energy crisis. They saved a ton of money on energy costs and discovered that they saved money in other areas. Absenteeism among the staff dropped significantly as well as employee turnover, saving money on ersonnel costs. 59. Cyrus says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:47 pm Are there really that many sissies out there that can’t handle working a 10 hour day? Now and then, no problem, I’ve worked even longer than that some days. (Not at my current job, though. ) But on anything approaching a regular basis, yeah, it’s a lot of work. There’s not much point in talking about it though, the way you’re bringing up “sissies” and jumping from “an unreasonable amount of work by the standards of a developed country” straight to whether someone “can’t handle” it. 60. wiley says: July 28th, 2009 at 4:47 pm I work 14 hours a day—I only do wage work 72 hours a month, though, because our society demands we make money. What exactly is so “tough” and manly about making money for other people? Is the wage slave supposed to be sexy? 61. Peter says: July 28th, 2009 at 5:01 pm Another simple solution to save $B in gas. How about staggering start times at work so not everyone is going to work at the same time. Let some work from 8-4, others 10-6 pm. How much traffic would that decrease on our highways? 62. Archibald says: July 28th, 2009 at 5:02 pm Great Idea!! Lets cut state budgets by 20% to correlate with a 4 day work week. And let the people who want to achieve more and work more days go ahead and do it. 63. Hector says: July 28th, 2009 at 5:10 pm Re: Hector rather amusingly claimed to be a dead guy (he probably left a word out, but it’s funnier to imagine him as the reincarnation a Tanzanian president), Fool, I meant to say, “As the late great president of Tanzania SAID”. You would profit from reading Mr. Nyerere’s collected works. Unfortunately, I doubt you will take me up on that suggestion. Mark, Just what socialists do you mean? I guarantee you that if you go to Cuba or Venezuela, you will be rather disappointed. The governments of those nations believe in hard work and shared sacrifice, and they abhor the late-capitalist postmodern cosmopolite hipster ideal of pot, porn, and playstations. Re: What exactly is so “tough” and manly about making money for other people? Is the wage slave supposed to be sexy? Wiley, Herein we see the logic of why the late capitalist economy promotes leisure time. In a healthy society, people would be fulfilled not in spite of their work but because of it. They would not be ‘making money for other people’ as you put it, but would take pride in serving their fellow man and in building a healthy society for their children to inherit. Late capitalism, of course, has separated people from their labor power and has employed people in a variety of unproductive, unnatural and alienating ways. Therefore, it has had to invent the ideal of leisure and vacations in order to distract people from the fact that they are not working at socially necessary and humanly fulfiling tasks. In a healthy society, not simply would people work longer hours but they would actually _enjoy_ working longer hours, because they would know that they were contributing to the social good and embodying their essential human nature. Man is essentially homo laborans, as the allegory of the book of Genesis tells us. James Gary, I abhor John Calvin and regard his teachings as a serious distortion and corruption of the Faith. 64. Hector says: July 28th, 2009 at 5:17 pm Re: Life is not for working. Life is for playing. Every minute you spend working for money is wasted. Instead of thinking of ways to rearrange people’s work hours, we should be thinking of ways to make work unnecessary. I posted before reading Mr. Mark’s comment in detail. It so perfectly sums up the basically antihuman, nihilistic and unnatural impulse at the heart of certain forces over the last few hundred years. Just as the Swinger lifestyle seeks to undermine human nature in the sexual sphere, late capitalism seeks to undermine human nature in the economic sphere. 65. frog says: July 28th, 2009 at 5:18 pm I think it is great. I lived in France when 35h work week was adopted – most people did 4 days one week, 5 the next, but there are many variants. It does give more free time and induces more spending which can stimulate an economy. There were various salary arrangements from no loss in pay (that was my case and most industries followed) to a proportional decrease in pay (for others). This was supposed to spur employment by 12% theoretically. I don’t remember the numbers but employment increased very moderately. The general consensus was that total social benefit was still greater than the burden it cost employers. Relative to the ecological impact: I doubt it really changed much since the companies in order to remain competetive had to stay open 5d/8h per week. And in govt jobs, the same held – they couldn’t shut things down one day a week. 66. Amir says: July 28th, 2009 at 5:41 pm Why not just work 3 days without getting any sleep and then take the rest of the week off ! I think working 10 hours a days is ridiculous. I personally cant go beyond 8 hours. This only works if the 40 hours become 35 hours like Europe. 67. ChicagoDP says: July 28th, 2009 at 6:02 pm Hector–UGH! People like you irritate me. ou continually post the same shit, repeating over and over your air of superiority over others. Why can’t you accept that different people have different views on life? In most of your responses, you denigrate others who have a differing opinion and it reduces you to the nagging parent who nobody wants to listen to anymore. Your first post might have rung interesting to the individual in the middle of this issue, but your continued arrogance has swayed me in the other direction. In most of the ‘against’ posts here, we (Americans) somehow look down on the ways of other countries as being “lazy” for their 35 hr work week choices, etc. The measure of (wo)man is not in the amount of good s/she amasses, but rather how s/he lived his/her life and interacted with others(didn’t Jesus teach something like that? Don’t all of the Ten Commandments have to do with our interactions with others? ). All you ‘work hard and no play’ people come talk to me when you’re 60 and you’re wondering where your life went. Or, when your kids are older and they are mad because you were never there for their important game or graduation or something. Seriously! To think that if we don’t adhere to some theory that we must work ourselves into oblivion and be happy with our petty 1-2 week a year vacation, you’re delusional and brainwashed! 68. twistedboomer says: July 28th, 2009 at 6:07 pm American workers aren’t crazy, workaholic fools. American workers are exploited labor in the highest (and final) stages of Capitalist excess. Europeons have more leisure time because they have strong unions who demand universal health-care, more vacation time, shorter workweeks etc. etc. In Troksky’s 1938 transitional program he called for a fully employed workforce in the USA. 40hours pay for 30hours of work. The URW bargained for (and received) in 1940 “six sixes” thus forcing the big 3 rubber companies to hire an extra shift per day. American workers could bargain for “four eights” and a mandatory 5 weeks vacation and single payer healthcare. Sound like a pipedream? It is if workers don’t organize and become militant. Want to sit back and let someone else take care of the problems? Then be prepared to be fodder for the cannons. Capital will chew us all up and spit us out. 69. commenter654 says: July 28th, 2009 at 6:13 pm It is impossible to work a ten-hour day if you have a dog, unless you spend a fortune on doggie day care. I have a seven-hour day and, of course, use a dog walking service–once per day. If I were gone for ten hours, the walker would have to come twice. That gets pretty expensive. Dogs need lots of fun, exercise and companionship. If I worked ten-hours days I would not have adopted a dog but now that I have one I cannot and will not work such long days. 70. pseudonymous in nc says: July 28th, 2009 at 6:23 pm Comments like Jase’s make the point that there’s work and there’s work: 10-hour days can be frittered away, The Office style, or they can be packed solid and have you coming home fit to drop, in no state to cook for yourself. Especially since for many salaried types, the lunch hour is spent eating at the desk. ) If that’s the schedule, then you generally have to spend some of the weekend preparing for the next week in terms of batch-cooking, working out what needs to be done because the store closes at 6pm on weekdays, etc. 71. pseudonymous in nc says: July 28th, 2009 at 6:27 pm I posted before reading Mr. Mark’s comment in detail. It so perfectly sums up the basically antihuman, nihilistic and unnatural impulse at the heart of certain forces over the last few hundred years. Uh, Anachronism Boy? Jesus spent three years wandering around with no fucking job. Take it up with him. In the meantime, you really don’t have a clue about life or work, do you? 72. JonF says: July 28th, 2009 at 6:42 pm Re: This would have a negative impact on countless cafes, pizzerias, sub-shops, and bars. How so? People would have three days a week to shop and three nights a week to party. I’ve generally noticed that bars and shopping malls do quite well for themselves on three day holiday weekends. With a staggered schedule (people taking either Monday or Friday off) both Sunday nite-Monday and Thursday nite-Friday would pick up for shopping and entertainment venues. Re: the five-day week has acquired legal significance in all sorts of ways that would not be easily discarded. Can you explain? I’m sure there’s some legal requirements with government offices and maybe banks needing to be open five days, but why would it matter if Microsoft or Ford went to a four day workweek? And why don’t we run into these issues when we do have three day weekends? Re: Real Christians and real Socialists believe in More Work, and Less Play. I don’t think traditional Christians would advocate that sort of emphasis on making money– which (let’s face it) that’s what work is all about in our world. And if we did have three day weekends the churches could get serious about preaching Sunday as a true day of rest and prayer. My own free time is so short in supply that Sunday after church turns into non-stop chores and errands until dinner time. So how about it: Less work and more prayer and contemplation on Sunday. 73. fostert says: July 28th, 2009 at 6:43 pm “I guarantee you that if you go to Cuba or Venezuela, you will be rather disappointed. ” Hector, have you ever been to Cuba? (don’t answer that here because it’s illegal to admit to it). Cuba is a great place to visit. The food, beer, and prostitutes are cheap and plentiful. And the beaches are really nice. It’s hard to beat Cuba for decadence. But living there sucks. Tourism is the only industry that makes any money at all. That’s why your taxi driver is a neurosurgeon. He can’t feed his family on a doctor’s salary, so he moonlights as a taxi driver to make ends meet. You can try to hold up Cuba as some non-decadent socialist utopia, but I can assure you it is neither. It does have affordable high quality health care though. I’ll grant them that. As for whether I’ve been there, I’m pleading the Fifth. 4. CatM says: July 28th, 2009 at 6:50 pm Alternatively, why don’t more employers allow people to telecommute? There are several jobs where technology could allow the work to be done without employees having to physically be in the office. I think as today’s older generation ages out of corporate management, we will see more telecommuting. 75. Lisa says: July 28th, 2009 at 7:22 pm I’ve been working a 4-day / 10 hour day work week since 2001 and love it. I am also in IT like other posters and of course have to work some evenings and weekends, but mostly always get to enjoy my 3-day weekend. I visit friends, get chores down, errands, or get all my appointments on Friday. Some on the team have Mondays off, some have Fridays, somem work 5 days, some start at 6, some start at 9, we provide great coverage that way. 76. wiley says: July 28th, 2009 at 7:36 pm The ten hour day on a day job doesn’t work for me, though I understand that it does work for some people. I tried it and was surprised to find that that “extra” day off was spent recuperating. I’m a workhorse, but spending ten hours at the store, four days a week was exhausting, especially on a swing shift. Isn’t all this automation supposed to be shortening the work week? That was the dream, wasn’t it? 77. Observer says: July 28th, 2009 at 7:38 pm Let’s add as benefits the decreased medical costs as people take advantage of 3 day weekends to exercise more, increased expenditures on recreation, entertainment, professional sports etc. leading to increased employment in those sectors and, for the retail and entertainment industries, expansion of job opportunities. 78. Hector says: July 28th, 2009 at 7:48 pm Re: You can try to hold up Cuba as some non-decadent socialist utopia, but I can assure you it is neither I don’t hold it up as an utopia, though certainly it has its good points. What I do claim is that people there (and in Vietnam, as you point out) still believe in hard work and shared sacrifice, which are values that too many of our chattering classes seem to disdain. Re: The measure of (wo)man is not in the amount of good s/she amasses, but rather how s/he lived his/her life and interacted with others(didn’t Jesus teach something like that? Don’t all of the Ten Commandments have to do with our interactions with others? ). ’ Yes, Chicago DP. An important part of serving and interacting with others, is using one’s labor power to help make the world a better place. As Aquinas pointed out, our talents and abilities are naturally intended to be used, not to be wasted. What I am really taking on is not people who ‘work’ few hours and spend the rest of their time growing sweet potatoes, raising clams, or volunteering at soup kitchens. Those are good things. What I do condemn is the nihilists who want to make the world safe for pot, porn, and playstations. 79. Nostradamus says: July 28th, 2009 at 8:20 pm Why the focus on maintaining the fiction of an “on site” job for all employees. Millions of Americans sit in their cars and pollute the environment so they can sit at a desk and work at a desk with little more than a computer, printer and phone. In other words, things that can easily be replicated at home. Some jobs require “office time”, of course, but millions do not, and until we move past the antiquated vision of work as being an office job, we are wasting time, money and energy. Work from home. Everybody wins. 80. Max424 says: July 28th, 2009 at 8:37 pm I worked 3 thirteens with early outs for 12 years. I loved it. But most of my fellow workers hated it. They felt such a schedule provided too much free time and forced them to live life. Management hated it too. They felt the wool was being pulled over their eyes, somehow. But when I would point out the alternative, to go back to 5 eights which meant paying overtime out the kazoo, they usually told me to get my peasant ass out of their office. 81. Glaivester says: July 28th, 2009 at 8:40 pm On the other hand, Hector, what we are talking about here is not necessarily working less, but working for wages less. One could devote a great deal of their extra free time to spiritual pursuits or volunteering. 2. Change we can all believe in…a 4 day work week is good for the environment « Life of a Gaander says: July 28th, 2009 at 8:51 pm [... ] The Four Day Work Week [... ] 83. wiley says: July 28th, 2009 at 8:56 pm Time to spend with friends and family. Time to spend alone. Time for physical activity, nature, experimenting, exploring, traveling. Idle, unstructured time to do absolutely nothing is absolutely necessary to any creative endeavor. Of course, the Protestants will call the most prolific people “lazy” and “self-indulgent” if they catch them incubating. Fuck ‘em. 84. Adirondacker says: July 28th, 2009 at 9:11 pm it would be an interesting social experiment to see how the families cope with different schedules. How upper middle class of you. The proles have been dealing with odd schedules since the dawn of the industrial revolution and the invention of reliable artifical lighting. Especially the poor souls who work rotating shifts, typically a month on days, a month on evenings and a month on graveyard ( or some variant ) And it’s not unusual for middle class two working parent households to have different schedules. Dad drops the kids at daycare because he’s a 9-5er and Mom picks them up because she was able to get a job that’s 7-4. … Now let me work another 2 hours and increase my total level of wealth The only problem is that Americans ( and I assume Japanese ) have been increasing their productivity and their incomes are flat. So they are producing more per hour and still getting the same wages. Why not just work 3 days without getting any sleep and then take the rest of the week off ! I think working 10 hours a days is ridiculous. I personally cant go beyond 8 hours. This only works if the 40 hours become 35 hours like Europe The 40 hours week is a concept of post World War II. Before that people typically worked 6 days a week and 54 or 60 hours a week. And why don’t we run into these issues when we do have three day weekends? Ah the good old days…. I’m old enough to remember when Americans got federal holidays off. The month of November had three, Election Day, Columbus Day and Thanksgiving Day. Many many people who had those three days off also got the day after Thanksgiving off. The economy didn’t collapse, things still got done…. Those are good things. What I do condemn is the nihilists who want to make the world safe for pot, porn, and playstations. Pot, porn and playstations employ people. Just because you don’t approve of them doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t find value in them. 85. superdestroyer says: July 28th, 2009 at 9:19 pm Anniston Army Depot tried this a few years ago. What they saved in utility expenses they lost in productivity. Productivity feel off some much the last two hours and they realized it was not worth it. 86. S. P. Gass says: July 28th, 2009 at 9:36 pm I agree strongly with CatM on this. In addition to compressed chedules, teleworking/telecommuting can make a big difference. My Congressman, Frank Wolf, is a big proponent of it. I have a blog called The Low-Tech Times, but technology allowing people to work from home is technology I believe in. As far as Superdestroyer’s comment on lost productivity during compressed schedules, I would argue that assuming the average office worker spends his/her first 20 minutes of the day reading emails from friends and surfing the web, then someone on a 4 day workweek schedule would spend 20 minutes less time goofing off each week than someone on a traditional 5 day schedule. I’ve worked a 4-10 schedule and it is a long day with the commute. Last century, when I was working for a freight railroad, I think I worked 21 days straight at one point. Fortunately, the FRA regulations have been revised giving railroad employees at least a day off after six. A 4-10 schedule may not work for all offices, but if employers allow it to be an option, it can only help for those who want it. The best approach is a combination of offering flexible schedules and telecommuting. 87. superdestroyer says: July 28th, 2009 at 9:41 pm Gass, Anniston Army Depot is a working capital funded organization. They only get paid for the weapon systems they repair and pay their overhead out of the working fund. They went to a four day week thinking they would save on utilities and startup costs. However, workers were so tired by the 9th and 10th hour that there was little producivity. A 4-10 work week got them 32 hours of producivity with forty hours of payroll expense. My guess is that it will matter little at the DMV in Utah but things like Safety inspectors or environmental compliance officers are losing a ton of productivity since they work on other people’s time schedules. 88. Anthony says: July 28th, 2009 at 9:51 pm There are countries with a much better social system than ours. France doesn’t quite have the productivity of America, but they have Universal Health Care, Free upper education, among other things and ummm there’s society isn’t falling apart. Neither are people “burned” out from working too much, they have plenty of vacation time (4 weeks a year or more). The people that want the Status Que to remain are selfish, noticed they always talk about a change in social policy would only effect them negatively, which they make up such a small portion of the population, I say SCREW them. They don’t wanna upset their “Masters” so they rail against anything that would benefit the many and leave almost nobody out. I’m already down to a 17. 5 hour work week, increasing it to say 35 would be okay with me. Tell you what, if you want to work 45-50 hours a week, then you start your own company and you work those hours. 89. M. E. says: July 28th, 2009 at 10:34 pm “What I do condemn is the nihilists who want to make the world safe for pot, porn, and playstations. ” I can tell you from the people I know in those industries, they work pretty hard. It’s not how hard you work, it’s what you do with your life. I can see more time offering more possibilities. 90. S. P. Gass says: July 28th, 2009 at 10:40 pm Superdestroyer, I hear you that productivity on different schedules will depend on the nature of the work. I’m glad Anniston Army Depot at least tried it. It may not work out perfectly everywhere, but I think it will work at many places and reduce traffic. I’ve worked at a govt agency with an AWS (alternate work schedule) allowing for 8 nine hour days and 1 eight hour day each two-week pay period. I’ve also worked in the private sector for a company that had a “Summer Fridays” program where you could leave early on Fridays during the summer. In both cases, I didn’t see any significant productivity problems. While I can understand with long days, some people may get tired/less productive… I believe that flexible schedules can lead to increased morale/higher productivity. 91. Fencedude says: July 28th, 2009 at 10:56 pm Hector is quite possibly the least fun person on the face of the planet. (also you will pry my Playstation/DS/PSP/Wii/etc out of my cold, dead hands) 92. Hector says: July 28th, 2009 at 10:57 pm Re: On the other hand, Hector, what we are talking about here is not necessarily working less, but working for wages less. One could devote a great deal of their extra free time to spiritual pursuits or volunteering. That’s true, and if that happened it would be perfectly OK. What I oppose is the “less work, more play” ethos that I feel is at the heart of a some cultural liberals’ conception of the world. Re: Pot, porn and playstations employ people. Just because you don’t approve of them doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t find value in them. Do I look like I give a tinker’s d*mn? In a healthy and sane society we would not ask whether some people claim to find value in them. Rather we would ask whether they have intrinsic and objective value, to which the answer is clearly no. Contrary to what the postmodernists would like to think, we do not make our own values nor do we create our own purposes in life. Value and purpose are pre-existing realities, not things we arbitrarily choose or invent. 93. crease says: July 28th, 2009 at 11:53 pm Hector what the hell is wrong with POT? ,G-d put it here for a reason beyond hemp,what the hell is wrong with porn? ell were only human and Sex is normal whether it`s for LGBT and straight. Playstation is a blast and I`m 50 years old hell you should play Wii it`s awesome it`s a great time with my daughter. 94. Max424 says: July 28th, 2009 at 11:55 pm @83 wiley: “Of course, the Protestants will call the most prolific people “lazy” and “self-indulgent” if they catch them incubating. ” Indeed. I’ve spent my entire life making damn sure I was always one step ahead of the Protestants. It’s hard work, however, and defeats the very purpose of seeking to live outside their ethic. 95. Hector says: July 29th, 2009 at 12:25 am By the way, I dislike being called a Protestant and would prefer that you not do it. I am a member of the Anglican branch of the One Catholic Apostolic Faith. And I thoroughly agree with every one of the Catholicizing influences of the Oxford Movement- transubstantiation, genuflection, veneration of the sinlessly conceived Mother of God, the whole shebang. So drop the ‘Protestant’ line, please. 96. Hector says: July 29th, 2009 at 12:27 am Re: what the hell is wrong with porn? well were only human and Sex is normal whether it`s for LGBT and straight. Crease, If you think that porn is a kind of sex, then you probably think Scientology is a kind of religion. 97. Will says: July 29th, 2009 at 12:29 am Forgive me if someone already mentioned this, but some agencies in the U. S. Federal Government offer a compressed work schedule, spread over 2 weeks, where you work eight 9 hour days, one 8 hour day, and one day off. It equals 80 hours over two weeks, and there are 26 three day weekends each year. This does not include holidays (10) and vacation days earned (13-26 depending on tenure). Some agencies offer work at home once a week as well, so over the course of two weeks, employees have the option to be in the office 7 of 10 possible days. 98. Wiley says: July 29th, 2009 at 12:36 am I didn’t call you anything, Hector, and I don’t give a flying fuck about your religious affiliations; but you clearly identified with something I said. 99. Brett says: July 29th, 2009 at 2:11 am As a Utah, I can definitely comment on this – it was a good idea, although there were some concerns over whether or not public transportation was lining up properly with the system. I’m also kicking myself because I work for a university that was doing the 4 Day Week, but then a new administrator came in and decided that she wanted the university open all the time, so we went back to the Five Day Week (much to the consternation of most of the employees). 100. foster says: July 29th, 2009 at 6:57 am “Anglican branch of the One Catholic Apostolic Faith” Wow. You’d think after Henry VIII and Elizabeth, they wouldn’t use the word ‘Catholic’. That’s audacious. It seems the origins of that faith are specifically in conflicts with the Catholic Church. 101. oster says: July 29th, 2009 at 7:19 am “Rather we would ask whether they have intrinsic and objective value, to which the answer is clearly no. ” So tell me, Hector what is the intrinsic and objective value of God. He is of no substance, so I can’t sell him without committing fraud. By any objective standard, He doesn’t exist. Old fairy tales are not evidence, and there is no physical evidence, so there is not even a possibility of making an objective observation of God. You either believe it or you don’t. It’s nothing but faith because there never can be evidence. So why devote a portion of our economy to something that has no intrinsic or objective value? The point here is that what you believe is intrinsic and objective is actually just an opinion based on one interpretation of one translation of one of a plethora of religious texts. Yours is no better or more real than any of the others. Unless it can be proven through experimentation, it really doesn’t mean anything. And much of it can be easily disproven. The ideas in these books are meant to guide you, not lock you into believing some dogma and closing your eyes to the world. People have very different opinions about how they want to live their lives. That’s why we mostly let them do it. But what you are saying is that we must be forced to conform to a specific outlook on life based on only some old text. Okay, let’s do it. Let’s all convert to Salafi Islam. What? Don’t want to do that? I thought the whole idea was to blindly follow some old text. But it’s a lot different when it’s not your text, isn’t it? The Bible isn’t my text, and if it were, it wouldn’t be your translation or interpretation anyway. So don’t try to ram it down my throat. 102. onceler says: July 29th, 2009 at 11:49 am up, sign me up asap, i want 4 ten-hour days, (an 8 hour day uses up a whole day anyway) and 3 real weekend days. life would be so much better. 103. Everybody’s Working For The Weekend « Around The Sphere says: July 30th, 2009 at 11:37 am [... ] Matthew Yglesias [... ] 104. Admin 4workingdays says: August 4th, 2009 at 8:39 am Hey guys, I think this could work as they already doing it in Utah. I am a web developer guy, so I created a website where I am trying to collect signatures for this idea. If you feel like please come and sign it at http://www. 4workingdays. com Thanks a lot Thomas
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