Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Anna Coote


Flickr: itupictures World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2014 (WTISD)

Telecom billionaire Carlos Slim thinks we should have a shorter workweek, and he’s started with his own major company.

He advises a standard three-day workweek with 11-hour workdays and a retirement age of “70 or 75.” He’s not the only renowned businessman and strategist to advocate the calming of our unnecessarily frenetic pace.

Slim made the announcement at a recent business conference in Paraguay covered by the Financial Times.

“With three workdays a week, we would have more time to relax; for quality of life,” Slim told news agency “Having four days [off] would be very important to generate new entertainment activities and other ways of being occupied.”

The billionaire chairman recently instituted an optional four-day workweek at Telmex, his company of over 50,000 employees.

Five-day Telmex workers on contract to retire at age 50 now have the option shorten their workweek and keep full pay at the cost of a later retirement age. No doubt, the workers are thrilled at the opportunity.

Slim is not the first visionary billionaire to advocate the innovative approach to modern work.

In a recent interview with Vinod Khosla, Google cofounder Larry Page gave different rationale on why we should find a “coordinated way to just reduce the workweek.”

“If you really think about the things that you need to make yourself happy—housing, security, opportunities for your kids—anthropologists have been identifying these things. It’s not that hard for us to provide those things.”

Page said, “The amount of resources we need to do that, the amount of work that actually needs to go into that is pretty small. I’m guessing less than 1% at the moment. So the idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people’s needs is just not true.”

Anna Coote is the head of social policy at the London’s New Economics Foundation.

Coote notes in her New York Times article that Germany and the Netherlands have stronger economies than the United States and Britain, yet they have shorter workweeks.

Coote also says the shorter workweek helps solve “overwork, unemployment, overconsumption, high carbon emissions, low well-being, entrenched inequalities and the lack of time to live sustainably.”

The average retirement age in the U.S. has been on the rise since the early ‘90s. Although many people work past the recommended retirement age because they must, others continue on simply because sitting idly at home gets old quickly.

For many, retiring as a capable body defies the American spirit and a lifetime of ingrained productivity.

However, when faced with the option family or work, family comes first.

There is a balance to be found. Everybody wants more vacation time, but Americans are increasingly hesitant to leave the workforce.

Why not address the two issues with the logic of Carlos Slim?

The five-day workweek was made the standard in 1938, but times have changed drastically since then. With modern advancements aiding us, we no longer need to work the same hours as Hitler.




June 2023

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