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Autonomy - January 2019

At a glance:

  • We note the worrying trends of job polarisation, the explosion of precarious forms of work, gendered inequalities, stagnating productivity growth, the threat (and promise) of automation and the substantial inequality that exists in our society.
  • Throughout the report, we make the case that the shorter working week is a powerful and practical response to some of these trends. Importantly, it should be understood that the transition towards a shorter working week is possible now and is not an abstract utopia.
  • We show that there is no positive correlation between productivity and the amount of hours worked per day: working to the bone does not make ‘business sense’.
  • There are strong indications that reducing the working week can help reduce air pollution and our overall carbon footprint.
  • We consider research concerning the importance of non-work time for our mental and physical health and for our sense of wellbeing in general.
  • Waged work and unwaged work – such as that which is carried out in the home – should be considered as two sides of one ensemble.
  • We make the case that productivity should not be the burden of workers alone.
  • Sector-wide trade union coverage is an appropriate component of the decision-making around automation.
  • We consider various case studies where a shorter working week was implemented with varying degrees of success.
  • We argue that ultimately, a more universal approach to working time reduction is the best way to prevent a ‘new dualism’ between those who can afford free time and those who cannot.

Read the full report at Autonomy