Less money and less work can be good for you!
The New Economic Forum has written a report Time On Our Side which suggests that working fewer hours each week can be good for your health, protect the environment, boost the economy and generally be a very good thing!
The average working week in the UK is 40 hours which makes us one of the highest in Europe. Other countries like Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, apparently work fewer hours with no significant effect on productivity.
Anne Coote, the head of social policy at the think tank said:
Having too little time to call our own can seriously damage our health and well-being, our family life, friendships and communities. No one should be made to work long and unsocial hours to make ends meet.
Interesting and laudable stuff. As is my bent I immediately began to think what this means for women in the workplace. Very little I suspect to the low paid group of women who work for the minimum wage (or less) in factories and shops and spend the rest of their ‘free’ time on childcare and household tasks. If one group of society has more leisure time another group in society will inevitably be servicing it.
That said, it is a useful piece of research and I recommend career women to get hold of this report and quote from it often. Flexible working is often seen as something just women want to do, casting them in a lower status at work than their male counterparts who are ‘hard at it’ for hours and hours (but we know are no more productive, they are just being very visible).
The implications for gender equality are significant if this report, written by economists, is taken up by government and employers. A quarter of all sick days are due to work-related problems, especially stress and mental health problems, and in Britain we have the highest levels in all of Europe.
Tackling that can only be a good thing and maybe, just maybe, advancing the cause of female equality in the process!
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Posted on September 18th, 2013 by Jane