Andre Spicer is professor of organisational behaviour at the Cass Business School at City, University of London. He believes working less would massively reduce our carbon footprint, and bring many other benefits besides.
Some of the ‘whys’ include:
- Small tweaks such as not using plastic straws or minimising food waste will make some difference. But if we hope to make real progress, we need to make bigger alterations in what we do.
- If we cut the hours we work by 25% – or a day and a quarter each week – our carbon footprint would decline by 36.6%.
- Less work means less carbon-intensive commuting, less energy-sucking office space, and less time on power-hungry computer systems. In addition, working less would help to break down the work-spend cycle.
- When France instituted a 35-hour working week in 2000, people developed less materialistic values and tended to use their free time with their families, resting or participating in sports or cultural events.
- Experiments with the shorter working week dating back to the 1970s found that employees tended to be more satisfied with their job.
All too often measures to address the climate crisis seem too abstract, too distant and too painful. Working less is different. It gives people a palpable short-term payoff of free time while benefiting the environment in the longer term.
A shorter working week could be one of those changes that is both great for the planet but also good for us in a way that you don’t need to be a climate scientist to understand.
[image credit: The Guardian]
This story is part of the Life Seeker newspaper