We all run around 5 days a week, and are incredibly ‘busy’. People often point to this as the reason why they can’t live sustainably.
It leads to people going for intense relaxation holidays across the other side of the world, makes us feel that we need rewards all the time for the hard long hours we’re putting in and often our families are neglected, especially when two parents have to work full time.
Is this pressure really necessary? Are we actually more productive? Don’t we need more time to live more sustainably? Won’t we in the future actually need to live on less resource?
This report from Business Insider about Microsoft testing a 4 day working week, showed a jump in productivity of 40%. Isn’t this a sign that we are simply wasting our own energy and resources in our five day working week?
People in different countries appear to have different relationships towards ‘work.’ The Japanese are well-known for the long hours they put in the offices.
People in India appear to be ‘used’ to a slower pace of life which has probably been the case in agrarian societies for centuries and even longer.
It is interesting to think a little about what humans were doing thousands and tens of thousands of years ago and what we will be doing in the near future with growing automation and domestic robots and so on. The ‘nature’ of work has mostly shifted from ‘physical’ to ‘mental.’ We are probably having to learn much more mental stuff in one life time than our ancestors from thousands of years ago.
Paul Salopek’s 30,000-km walk across the world is an interesting experiment.