40-hour work week: Do we need it?

Photo Credit: Statista

Time is valuable. It’s limited and non-refundable. Regardless of what your grandfather and boss may lead you to believe, time is not money. Many Americans have gone entire lifetimes without realizing this and spend very little of said lifetime actually enjoying themselves.

According to Forbes, about 70% of Americans waste at least one hour a day while on the clock and about 30% waste over two. Some may read this and call out these “slackers” for sucking up their employer’s assets, but a closer look reveals that it may not be the individuals who need to be redirected, but the system as a whole.

This terrible habit is driven along by an implicit nationwide 40-hour workweek for those with “full-time” jobs, especially those within corporate industries. Originally put in place in the 1930s as a protective measure for those working factory jobs, it’s easy to see how such a policy could be considered outdated.

When this standard was established, people were largely uneducated, mostly worked for hourly wages and computers as we know them didn’t exist. Considering the fact that those who work a salary-paying, office job tend to do the vast majority of their work on computers, it’s safe to say that the standard could use a second look.

As COVID-19 has shown us, a great many of the office jobs discussed in this article can very well be done from home, so why are so many people spending so much time in a place where most people would rather not be?