TED Conversations

Nicholas Lukowiak


This conversation is closed.

4 day work weeks.


Questions to guide conversation:

4 day 3 weekend? or 4 day 4 weekend?

Should we take a page from Utah's book?

4 day work week? Perhaps school week?

Make the hours 10 hours to compensate for the loss day. Would you rather work longer for 4 days to not work entire extra day?

There are green benefits (Ex: less CO2 emissions).
More time for family.
Utilities (save energy/money)

More time off = more money spent

How does TED feel about this?
Are there cons?
Who wants to start tomorrow?

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    May 1 2011: how about deregulating work time? let companies and employees freely decide how much they are willing to work. why do we think that there is a "correct" amount of work? maybe it is dependent on the field, on the geographical area, on the age group, and ultimately on the person.
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      May 1 2011: Can't argue with that.

      But small steps first Krisztián.
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      May 1 2011: Krisztian (I wish I had the proper accents to spell your name and Richard's properly)
      The problem with deregulation is that it is complicated. Companies need to keep things straight forward and not have to juggle too many people issues. Four on four off is very straight forward. Crew A or Crew B? This group or that. I might even simplify things such as holidays and vacations.
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        May 1 2011: (feel lucky, i don't have our unique ő and ű in my name. they don't even have html names. talk about crazy languages.)

        i see the benefit of your system for a factory, yes. but an office can be much more flexible on this. especially the work hours per day. but even a day off is easy to handle in a lot of professions. what if the marketing manager does not work on mondays? one more point: if a company is operating best with the current 5 day 8 hour week, deregulation won't hurt it, they can stick to it.
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          May 1 2011: OK -that's doable.
          However, many places are so 'instant on' they want people to be there to answer questions or problems immediately. In addition with the 4 days on/off system there is a built in redundancy for every single position!
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        May 2 2011: luckily, due to my position, i don't have to answer that :) since i want deregulation of worktime, i can just say: if a company likes the 5-2 system, or your 4-4 system, they can opt for it. if they don't like, they won't.
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    May 2 2011: Wondering how CO2 emmision will be less, when 4 days will be extended to 10 hours ?
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      May 2 2011: Well at least it means one less commute to and from work if it is a 10 hour day thus less transportation emmisions.
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        May 2 2011: hmmmm good point even if it is small percentage of total CO2 emission (i don't know what % of CO2 accounts for commuting to and from work place compared to industrial emission) it's a savings of course only if on that off day the vehicle is not used for any other purpose
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    May 1 2011: Hey Nicolas! I fully agree that this is the way forward as a society or as societies in this complex world.
    Not only could we immediately employ many more people but we could also enhance our socieities and our home lives. When north America went from 6 days to five all of the powers that be predicted huge and terrible consequences. As Stephen King the writer was quoted as saying recently (and I fear that there might be an outcry at this)- "if you love your weekend- thank a union guy".
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      May 1 2011: unions surely claim that achievement for themselves. however, there is another explanation, a simple economic one. leisure time is valuable. when you work, you give up leisure time to get some goods in return, like food. since there is the law of diminishing returns, the goods resulting from an additional unit of work time tends to be less and less as you add more and more time. similarly, the joy of one unit of leisure time is lower and lower as you acquire more and more of it. that results in an equilibrium. you stop allocating your time to work when the generated marginal value is less than the marginal value of leisure. this is all purely personal of course, so the equilibrium point is different for each person.

      now imagine a worker in the 1900s. he can decide if he wants to work one more hour after working 9 hours already, and get money to buy medicine to his sick wife, or get a pair of shoes to his son. clearly, he will choose that one extra work hour.

      and now imagine a typical worker today in the US. he can decide if he wants to work one more hour, and get money to buy a better cellphone, or eat better food at some restaurant. obviously, most people will choose one more free hour.

      the unions might have forced this process to come a little sooner, too soon perhaps, but i doubt they are a major factor. the real question is why this trend don't go even further? maybe unions praised the 5x8 hour week so much, they became the very obstacle of overcoming it?
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        May 1 2011: I think both of you will find value in this article.

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          May 1 2011: 1. equality is not a value

          2. correlation is not causal relationship
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          May 1 2011: What I think might work well is a system of 4 days on 4 days off. That would allow almost instantly greater employment, all industrial and manufacturing imputs would be enhanced by economies of scale. Some people could choose to work two jobs or parents could work opposite blocks so that they could care for young families or the elderly. For those who could work the same block there would be more time to know each other and love each other and nurture a family, a home or hobbies. I see only up sides to this.
          One additional benefit is that the people who advocate that 'somebody' do something to help the poor or underemployed now are part of the solution themselves.
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    May 1 2011: I read one time a very good argument for such. As more people do it you increase the number of worker. By decreasing the number of welfare you decrease the tax needed to pay. It was more complex but at the end. we would end up with almost the same amount or even more money. It is time for now to change how we do business( literally). Our industries are less about production but ideas. We are becoming more artistic and you can't make an " artist" come with is best ideas from 9-5 between 4 little wall. With all the technology we have now how come we are still working as much? Wasn't the robot be working for us now?8) We have to have to start make family and individual our priority. Especially with a low rate of birth. But what I foresee is people taking those 3 days to take another job.8)
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    May 1 2011: Good idea, but you know with blackberries and internet connectivity now a days many are 7/24 in very gross sense.
    More Work Life balance that being a debated issue in todays hyper-competitive corporate world. Jack Welch once heated up the debate but I agree with him to a good extent.

    More fights with spouse ha ha kidding
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      May 1 2011: Salim: What did Jack Welch have to say? I'm surprised if he came out in favor of the idea.
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      May 1 2011: Salim: Also more time for making up!
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    May 1 2011: the problem would be, with more time off you would inevitably spend more money.
    from a financial point of view, think it would hit the pockets of families harder in the long run.

    ur right in that it would lower CO2 and improve family togetherness.