Here’s the third of our salon series which pulls an excerpt from our newest course, A World of Health: People, Place and Planet.  We hope this little snippet gives you a sense of what the course is like.  Enjoy!

“One Approach To Sustainability: Work Less” by John de Graaf

In response to escalating fuel costs, many companies are now considering going to a four-day work week.  They believe this will save large sums on commuter fuel expenses and reduce traffic congestion.  The problem is that they mean four 10-hour days.  But for many American families in which both parents work, such long days will intensify daily stress.

The real solution to this problem is to go to a four-day workweek of eight-hour days.  Total production would be reduced slightly, but this will make us more sustainable.  The commuting/energy benefits of the four-day week would be kept, without the negatives.  We could expect significant reductions in energy and resource use, and in health problems and health care costs.  Talk about a win-win situation!  The Center for a New American Dream, a Maryland non-profit has had such a 32-hour week for 10 years, with excellent results for productivity, creativity and worker morale.

  1. Do you tend to agree/disagree with John DeGraff’s assertion about the positive health and environmental benefits of a shorter workweek?  Why?
  2. What concerns might employers have regarding a shorter work week?  Are they valid?
  3. Does a 32 hour week sound appealing to you?  Would it affect your productivity?