One of the World's Richest Men Wants a Three-Day Workweek
Join us in a city near you at Entrepreneur’s Accelerate Your Business event series kicking off Feb 23. View cities and dates »
Carlos Slim, one of the richest men on Earth, likely didn’t found his multi-billion dollar telecommunications empire by working three days a week, but that is precisely the kind of “radical overhaul” he says our traditional workweek paradigm needs.
Speaking at a business conference in Paraguay, 74-year-old Slim also advocated longer days and later retirement dates. “People are going to have to work for more years, until they are 70 or 75, and just work three days a week -- perhaps 11 hours a day,” he said, according to The Financial Times.
Such a redistribution of hours would not only enhance productivity, he said, but provide financial stability to seniors.
It’s an argument that has been made before. The reasoning? While time-strapped 20-, 30- and 40-year-olds often miss out on time spent with their friends and families, people generally have more free time as they age.
“With three work days a week, we would have more time to relax; for quality of life,” he said. “Having four days [off] would be very important to generate new entertainment activities and other ways of being occupied.”
And Slim is not merely speculating. At one of his Mexican telecommunications companies, Telmex, he will allow certain contract workers who are eligible to retire before they are 50 to continue working a four-day week at full pay.
While a reduced workweek might sound enticing, others argue that for entrepreneurs and executives to truly succeed, they need to be involved as much as possible -- and that may mean punching in five days a week.
It is a question currently being debated around the world. Sweden recently launched an experiment to decrease its workweek to 30 hours, while France has a labor agreement that states employees can't check work emails past 6 p.m.
No one can argue that these initiatives create a better work-life balance, but on the flip side, do they hamper innovation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
For reprints and licensing questions, click here.