Does tipping the scale too far hurt the planet as well as our wellbeing?
The leisure economy: can we save the planet by working less?
1st September, 2009
The idea of a 'leisure economy' has been predicted for decades, but never realised. Despite this, research shows that our working habits continue to put a strain on the planet's resources. Could tackling climate change be as simple as working less?
There's something wonky with the way we work. Those of us with jobs are stressed when we work, and fatigued when we're not.
Many of us don’t feel we have time to interact with our communities. 46 percent of Brits have described themselves as being 'exhausted' at the end of a days work. A similar survey by the Families and Work Institute found one third of Americans were 'chronically overworked’. Less than a quarter of Brits are 'satisfied' with their work hours.
But while some of us are shackled to a long-hours culture, unemployment has been rising.
Firms across the industrialised world, from car manufacturers to consultants to city councils have been offering employees the choice to work less hours for less pay, instead of lay-offs. Many workers have accepted the new conditions willingly, some even relishing them. One British delivery firm found when it offered its workers a three-day week, some asked to work only two.
In June, the Ecologist interviewed employees of the Toyota assembly plant in Derby. A recent 10 per cent hours and wage cut was being taken...
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