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Does the 40-Hour Work Week Need Overhauling?

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posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 03:14 PM

Does the 40-Hour Work Week Need Overhauling?

Naturally there is a benefit to limiting the number of hours employees work each week. From a health standpoint, research has shown that juggling too many work and personal commitments can cause stress and a breakdown in emotional and physical well being leading to things such as exhaustion, anxiety, depression, and headaches, just to name a few. Work/life balance has been an ongoing issue for most workers for years. Not to mention the impact on the global environment...
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 03:14 PM
With productivity levels double what they were fifty years ago, and both Dad and Mom working now to make ends meet, we shouldn't be working more than twenty hours a week to maintain the same lifestyle. Instead, we are all working longer hours for lower standards of living.

Shouldn't technological advancement of our society lead to people having more leisure time to spend on relationships, raising their children, improving themselves.

If people had more time to spend raising their kids, maybe we could greatly reduce drug addiction and crime. If parents had more time to spend with their children, maybe less kids would be joining gangs in order to find a family.

From my observation, most of these corporate bureaucracies are terribly inefficient, because most of the people concentrate on justifying their own jobs. With a shorter work week, we would probably start becoming even more efficient, and it certainly would take a big bite out of unemployment.

As far as dropping salaries and wages, salaries and wages are what determines available demand, demand drops in relation to supply, and prices drop. Let's face it, all of our hard work is only going to CEO bonuses anyway.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 03:28 PM
Is 8 hours a day 5 days a week really that much? I mean there is 168 hours in a 7 day week and considering you get 8 hours of sleep 7 days a week that leaves 72 hours left.

The Japanese and Chinese work way more hours than Americans do. I think people need to pay more attention to their health and what the government is doing and it would eliminate the stress 10 fold.

That is the problem though everybody wants to find other "faults" instead of the main one which is government and the fed manipulating and catering to big business.

That is my take on it.

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 03:35 PM

Originally posted by Hastobemoretolife
The Japanese and Chinese work way more hours than Americans do.

I remember on Labor Day last year, the UN, or some other such organization, released a report saying that Americans work the most hours a year and that Americans are second in productivity only to the Swedes.

I agree with you though, Hastobemoretolife, that 40 hours a week isn't that much. But, many Americans bring their work home with them or work multiple jobs and don't take the time to rest. Americans aren't happy with their jobs either because, we're taught all throughout life, "work work work make money money money. Manybe when you have money you'll be happy!" People just work for workings sake and don't get anything out of it and they don't take the time to "stop and smell the roses", if you will.

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 03:40 PM
Im not sure about overhauling it completely, but I will tell you this... At my previous job I worked a compressed work week. One week I worked 4 12 hour days and the next week I would work 3 12 hour days, and it alternated like that all year.

So one week I had 3 day weekends and the next week I had 4 day weekends. That extra time off allowed for everything from catching up on housework to 4 day vacations, sometimes twice a month.

It not about how many hours your working, I look more into how many full days you have off.

Hastobemoretolife: You mentioned you had 72 hours free a week, 32 are your weekend, which your probably going to sleep in... the other 40 are spent getting ready for work, driving to work, eating lunch at work, driving home from work, and recovering from the day at work, etc...

I think there should be some looking into of the schedules we work...

[edit on 26-3-2009 by XTexan]

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 03:43 PM
reply to post by XTexan

I'm in a similar situation now with alternating 3 and 4 day weekends on a 40 hour work schedule.

If anything I wish I had the option to come in and earn a day or two at time and a half.

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 03:44 PM
there aren't very many people that work "40 hours" a week. sure that might be what you get PAID for. but you have to take into account that there's an hour that you're not getting paid for everyday called lunch. and then there's this thing called traffic, you may have heard of that. oh and there might be some purely "voluntary" company parties and so on. and let's not forget teh hour it takes to unwind when you get home. there's probably an hour or two of getting ready, mostly for hte women i'd assume.

and let's not forget about families that only have one car and have to pick up their spouse or children.

[edit on 26-3-2009 by Mozzy]

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 03:46 PM
Well - even with the tech and boosts of productivty there is still the "wants" of the company.

In general - the company will want "More" and they will want it "Faster". So, they keep pushing higher goals on a tighter timeframe and the only way to meet is often - more hours.

Kind of like - you can do Y in 20 hours? Ok your goal for the week is now triple Y.

[edit on 26-3-2009 by Frogs]

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 03:47 PM
reply to post by thisguyrighthere

I had that luxury for awhile, then they cut out overtime, good money when you do that, lol.

My favorite part was the 4 day weekend, I always traveled somewhere interesting, kinda gave life a meaning instead of "work 5 days, sleep 2 and do it again" ya know...

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 03:49 PM
reply to post by octotom

True, I got that one wrong. But you know though in the end people are too caught up with their own lives to pay attention to what is going on around them. The problems we have are multiple and complex.

I don't think the fix is cutting hours a week though, because of what XTexan said. It is all about time management.

reply to post by XTexan

I agree with you, I think there needs to be a complete shift in the hours worked, not so much how many but how schedules are structured. I know there are some businesses that have to maintain a ridged work schedule to actually be profitable.

There needs to be a company that comes along and makes it big time and crushes the competition to move along a paradigm shift in the way business is done.

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 03:57 PM
My own employer has recently introduced flexible working hours. You have to work 37 hours per week but between 07.00-19.00 hrs you can please yourself.

It's made such a huge difference to me, mainly because the morning commute becomes much faster, I've cut nearly an hour off my journey time each way by missing the rush hour.

The only problems we're having are that almost everyone is coming into work early & we're having issues with late cover to 19.00 hrs. Scheduling meetings is also becoming problematical, many staff are working in excess of their 37 hours and are taking days off work instead. I'm sure we'll figure it out eventually.

Biggest difference is in terms of general morale. Folks are keen to get to work early ... that was never the case in our office before.

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 03:57 PM
40hr weeks.....yeah, dump them. roll on the robots, gimme a two hour day and i'ld be happier, not a doubt in my mind. even at that, make no mistake, i'll dream about a twenty minute work day.

i've got a million things i'ld rather do than go to work, life's way to short, you never lie on your death bed wishing you'ld done more overtime.

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 04:02 PM
reply to post by Hastobemoretolife

I know the semiconductor industry almost entirely uses the compressed work week. Really any place that operates 24/7 can do it. For me it was a godsend, I'm not even sure if I can do a 5 day a week job anymore, lol.

If everyone had 3 to 4 days off a week, people wouldn't be so stressed and tired on those days they had off, and if your still putting in 36-48 hours a week at work your income wouldn't be affected...

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 04:10 PM
I am 55 years old. Since reaching the age of 18, I have never held a job that was limited to only 40 hours a week. I remember reading the Weekly Reader in elementary school and the predictions of days of recreation with only a few hours of work a week, where robots would do all the work and we would have flying cars by 2000.
The only reason my wife now works only 40 hours a week is because production has been stepped up while hours have been shortened and lay offs of other workers. 40 hour work weeks. Heh.

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 04:11 PM
I'm much more in favour of a "self-sufficient" style of living. Make what you need yourself, sell/trade your extra for some nifty trinkets or things you didn't get yourself that year. This way your working for yourself, to survive.

Seeing as that I can't time travel and am stuck with this corporate BS system I do agree something's off. I was reading not too long ago (can't remember where now...) that compared the 70s, where there was dad at work and mom homemaking, we today are seeing less money with two parents working for "more money". I don't think it's the work week that's flawed, although a few more days off really would be nice. It's the level our taxes are at and how COSTS have inflated while income has remained rather stagnant. Like you said these CEOs are getting fat bonuses.

Here's some quick math for you:
For every $1,000,000 dollars that a CEO pockets in a year you could pay 100 employees an extra $384 that year [(1,000,000/100)/26 or 1 mil split between 100 people over 26 pay periods]. Now you look at most of these CEOs bonuses... $3 million, $4 million, $8 million... that's either 800 employees making $384 or 100 employees getting an extra $3072 a year.

The numbers may not look like much but you look at how many CEOs there are, how many officials are getting bonuses, and the amount they're all getting. That is A LOT of money that should rightfully be paid to you and I and my neighbour but is being absorbed by money hungry turd monkeys. What I'd like to know is why that knob at the top is getting paid 200X what I'm making, then getting my raise tossed to him as an extra bone.

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 04:13 PM
I think anyone who works any hours of the week should just be thankful for the opportunity of employment.

Personally, I think parents in particular should work longer hours to pay more taxes towards their offspring and contribute a fairer share towards child allowances.

Why do non-parents have to pay contributions towards other peoples kids?

Fair's fair! In these times of alledged depopulation programmes I wouldn't be surprised if it gets more expensive to breed as a deterrant. I just think it's wrong to make everyone pay up and not just those who CHOOSE to reproduce.

The more you want the more you must expect to pay...that should also include your time.

I do think "flexitime" is a good way to go though. It would enable parents in particular to manage their schedules better, and it also encourages hard work by offering the opportunity to complete jobs quicker and leave earlier.

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 04:15 PM
reply to post by Scurvy

You hit on a very important point. Back in the day one person working 40 a week could afford a home and a family, and have time to spend with them... Now we have 2 income families with 2 people working 40 hours and they can't afford a home a family, and those that can are stretched pretty thin on their free time.

It's pretty sad, but in all honesty we are doing 2x the work for and recieving less for it. It's really disheartening to a lot of people...

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 04:54 PM

Originally posted by poet1b

Shouldn't technological advancement of our society lead to people having more leisure time to spend on relationships, raising their children, improving themselves.

Your question reminds me of another peculiarity of modern life.
The Jevons Paradox describes the effect that technological progress having increased the efficiency with which a resource is used , counter intuitively leads to an increase in the rate of use of that resource.

Perhaps similarly, technological advancements in our society lead to us , counter intuitively, having less time to ourselves .
We too are a resource.

Just a thought .

[edit on 26-3-2009 by UmbraSumus]

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 04:56 PM
Sad thing is, up until last November when the economy started to hit the trucking industry, I was working mandatory 45 hour weeks. This was steady for at least 3-4 years, with the exception of a week here and there when things got slow.

Now since November, we are to do 40 hours, no more, no less, unless it's vacation or sick time. Amazingly, we are about the only shop in a 30 mile or so radius that hasn't either had layoffs, or cut back to below 40 hours.

Now my wife on the other hand, works four 10s. Mon-Tues on, Wed off, Thurs-Fri on, Sat-Sun off. And now they have her working Wednesdays too. She doesn't get home until 6:30 or later some days, and I have to get up early so I go to bed early. I get about two hours to see her, and a portion of that is occupied by dinner.

But now let's say the work week is re-structured. Do you really think that they guy making $10 an hour for 40 hours is going to get $20 an hour for 20 hours? I doubt it.

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 05:00 PM
For years now I have been responsible for both the Europe/Middle East/ Africa and Asia Pacific regions. I'm usually in the office just before 7AM, after a 50 mile drive, and most of the time get out between 6:30 and 7PM for the 50 mile drive back home again. As the rest of the team, including my manager, are all based in California I usually stay that late into the evening to catch up on any issues with them. So, about 11 - 12 hours a day at the office plus an hour each way driving (if the traffic is good) makes for a long day.

I have worked out that working from home 2 days a week not only increases my productivity, due to more relaxed surroundings and fewer interruptions, but would also save me about £1K in fuel a year and means I'd cover 10K miles less. At last it looks like the company are investigating home working in a more positive way so hopefully I'll be starting more days working from home very soon. Have VPN access to all necessary sytems via high speed broadband from home and my major global vendor is based 5 minutes drive from home, handy for all those project meetings.

A 40 hour week sure would be nice though - I'd have to find all sorts of things to take up all the spare time, like getting a life!

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