Do you need to work so much?Here’s hope

Always in the office? And if not, taking work home, even at the weekends? Answering calls at the dinner table? And all the time getting snarky comments saying you’re never at work because you go home at seven in the evening? Take a breath, because help may be at hand.

The revolt against the long hours tyranny may just be beginning. Writing in the Guardian, Sarah Jaffe [1]reviews the work of a number of thinkers who are just daring to think that there may be alternatives. That maybe only 32 hours, or possibly even 15, may be enough to get us all we need to lead a balanced life. Keynes was trying to suggest something along these lines as early as 1930, but it never really kicked in. And starting in the 1980s, the cult of hyperworking had taken root, when the rewards started going to those damaged souls who managed to be present 16 hours a day, regardless of the costs to their families, mental health and drink problem. (how truly productive they are is another question).

The problem is that it is easier for lazy bosses to measure hours rather than value, and activity rather than productivity. Rewards like promotion go to the workaholic company man, thus reinforcing the cycle. Everyone ends up in a frenzied cycle of overwork just to keep up, with the results spent on overpriced consumer goods of questionable long term value, to say the least. Of course we all have to work, but does it really have to be this way?

Readers of LSS are distinguished by their ability to think differently, as your feedback makes clear. So we urge you to consider Sarah’s article, however radical it appears. If there is one possession you should care for, it is your time.

#jm keynes #work life balance #stress #illness #long hours

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