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May 19, 2019

Shorter weeks


May 19, 2019

Fortunately, an increasing number of workplaces over the world are embracing technology, leading to a greater and wider spectrum of everyday tasks being automated; this transition is leading to job losses in certain sectors but a report NYT last year underscored the fact that greater technological innovations present an opportunity to mankind in the form of “less time working”. The Paper reported that either in this century or in the very next one, we could very well see a four-day working week with adequate pay and benefits for all those involved in this lesser workweek. All this will be due to technological change. In all those countries where the industrial and/or services sector is extremely large, the trend of a four-day, lesser workweek could emerge; we already know that in the services and financial sectors of the West, working at home, either once a week or twice a month is a norm as data and working documents are already online or readily accessible. Several countries, companies and organizations, which have already crossed the spectrum of advancement, are already experimenting with shorter workweeks.

One advantage of a reduction of one day every week could be lesser fossil fuels burnt, less traffic jams, a more conducive natural environment, more leisure, spiritual, prayer and travel time on our hands; unfortunately, this trend of a lesser workweek is unlikely to happen anytime soon in Pakistan and similar countries. However, in an advanced economy or company, where the inherent workforce is highly skilled, motivated and time-conscious, one could tinker with a lesser workweek. There is a pre-conditionality though; as a nation, we must all be hard-working, honest and sincere, refraining from procrastinating, delaying or deferring tactics if we indeed seek to attain this objective of a ‘lesser work week’.

Abbas R Siddiqi ( Lahore )

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