Monday, August 13, 2007
40 Hour Work Week Reconsidered
According to an online survey of 10,000 American workers, the average white collar worker wastes 2.09 hours a day. Surfing the Internet was their top time-wasting activity - as in, for instance, answering that survey. Other time wasters included "socializing, conducting personal business, spacing out, running errands, making phone calls, applying for jobs, and arriving late or leaving early." The survey concluded that all this dawdling costs American companies $759 billion a year.
However, as the article at the link below admits, the weekly demands of most salaried jobs can be completed in considerably less than 40 hours a week. Although it seems to me that employees may need to be at work, or at least available to their employers, on a daily basis - even seven days a week and around the clock in many cases - they may not need to spend all that much time actually working. It is possible that corporations, using flex-time and rotating schedules, could save a considerable amount of money by allowing their employees to work 30 hour weeks. This might put less strain on corporate resources and infrastructure, and a far higher percentage of employees' time at work could be committed to their jobs. Just as improved technology has allowed corporations as a whole have become more productive, it has allowed their employees to become more productive as individuals. If they are not allowed to reap the rewards of expanded responsibility and a commensurate increase in income, they should at least be allowed to cash in the profit of a few extra hours a day which they could then devote to family, friends, personal fulfillment and - yes - even earning a little money elsewhere on their own time.
"Is it time to reinvent the 40-hour workweek?" from HeraldNet (Everett, Washington)