Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has recently spoken in favor of working a shorter week. This isn't always possible; working a three- or four-day week would either mean working longer shifts or reducing your income - and that's something many of us simply couldn't afford. But there's a lot to be said for working fewer days if you can manage it. Here are some of the benefits of working a shorter week …
1. Longer Weekend
One of the main benefits of working a shorter week is that you have a longer weekend. Two days may never seem long enough, but a three- or four-day weekend is time to have a mini-vacation, do lots of hobbies, or simply spend time with family. It will also allow you ample time to recharge before heading back to work.
2. Less Commuting
Does anyone actually enjoy commuting? It's a real drag sitting in traffic or fighting for a seat on the train. But if you work a shorter week, you'll spend less time traveling, as well as less money. Commuting may not be fun, but it will be more bearable if you don't have to commute quite so often.
3. Starting a Business
Perhaps you've always wanted to start your own business. Unfortunately most businesses take a long time to start making money, so you could be reluctant to give up a secure wage. However, if you shorten your working week you'd have time to dedicate to your fledgling business and still have the guaranteed income to pay your bills. It's also a good way to fund studies without enormous debts.
Childcare can eat up quite a substantial part of your income, but if both parents work full-time then childcare will be essential. But if you reduce your working hours you will also be able to reduce your need for childcare. You may even be able to arrange your hours so that you and your partner can share the majority of the childcare between you, and you only need to pay for a day or two's nursery fees.
5. Job Creation
If you can afford to cut your hours, then somebody else will need to cover the extra hours. If enough people work fewer hours, that means that more jobs will be created. So working fewer hours could be a good thing for the country and cut down unemployment. There would also be more jobs created to cater for the increased leisure time.
6. More Leisure Time
Do you end up spending your weekends and evenings doing household chores? A shorter working week would mean that you have time to get everything done around the house (boring but necessary) and have plenty of time to yourself. You'd have more time to spend with friends and enjoy your hobbies.
7. Saving Money
Finally, even if you earn less, you could also be saving money. Your travel costs will be reduced, and you'll need fewer expensive work outfits. You won't be tempted to spend money during your lunch hour, and if you have kids your childcare costs will be reduced. In real terms, you may find that you're actually not that much worse off.
If your employers are flexible, and you could cope with longer (but fewer) days or less money, there is a lot to be said for a shorter working week. Would you work fewer hours if you could?