Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What I did to get international fame -Tthe 10 hour work day

Yes, I am now internationally famous. Last night, as usual, I was driving around in my truck and I heard my name on the radio! That's not something that normally happens. Plus I was listening to our local NPR station's rebroadcast of the BBC World Service which makes it doubly interesting. Apparently I am now internationally famous as my words were read over the air far and wide for all the world to hear. The wonderfully inflected British accent pronounced my name with a more Germanic sounding inflection and called St. Louis (which locally is pronounced Lewis) as "Looie," but it was me because I recognized the words I wrote.

Whats the story behind this international turn of events? Well I am a big fan of Lucy Kellaway's commentaries which are featured regularly on the World Services' Business Daily report on Monday Nights here locally. She writes a rather cynical column for the UK's Financial Times newspaper. Her humorous take on the sometimes bizarre practices of the business world provide constant fodder for her column's.

On July 2 of this year, she wrote a column dedicated to the idea that businesses should eliminate Fridays for a variety of reasons. While I am sure she meant in as a tongue in cheek reference to the fact that nothing really gets done on Fridays. Her commentary was repeated on the BBC on 23 August of this year.

However, I had given the matter serious thought and I posted my thoughts on the BBC website. I wish I had saved the link, because I can't find it now! You may listen to and download the podcast for the next week or so at the following link. Click on the link for the 20th and my comments are read at the end of the broadcast. It might be available for longer at the following link which is up for good I hope.

Anyway, the gist of my comment was that we could eliminate Fridays by going to a 40 hour week/10 hour day. This would leave the last three days of the week, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, free for leisure time and worship as most of the world's major religions worship on one of those three days. I emphasized that the savings in commuting times, energy usage and the like would be considerable. Productivity would increase since we would have essentially two shifts for many jobs. The "weekend" shift would be correspondingly smaller since these would be part time workers, or said workers could be given the option of coming in on any of the other four "working days" and complete a 10 hour shift to have a full 40 hours. Most people could have a lot more leisure time since a three day weekend gives one a lot more time to do home projects and recreation.

Granted the 10 hour day might be a bitch, but then it would be able to have more productivity since we will be working longer in the day and services would be available longer. On a three shift job, we might still have the same 8 hour day, as the times don't match up really. I was thinking on some jobs an "on-call" arrangement might be floated or for others, an overlapping of shifts might be necessary or some might be filled by "weekenders" working partial shifts to cover for those intervening times. Few workplace regulations in the US would change since a minimum of 4 hours is required in some jobs for pay. If you get called in you have to be paid 4 hours no matter what. Of course, the big one would be the 8 hour day.

Overtime would be at twice pay because we don't want people working too much of a day. Many jobs ask you to come in early to set up and some violate regulations by not paying for that set up time. This shift would give adequate time for that set up with four hours a day down time in dome factory jobs. Most would work 9am to 8 pm with an hour allowed for lunch and that hour would always be time off required by law. Now some people would not adapt to this because of the fact that commuting distances have increased in the US especially, but this might encourage the use of trains or other public transit to get people into work. It might also encourage people to live closer to work since a schedule like this would discourage long commuting times. Another idea would be to require a 3 day work/10 hour day and make a fourth day "floating" be it by choice or schedule as long as positions were filled for those long commuters. Also, it might encourage telecommuting for workers who are able to take advantage of that kind of situation.

I wasn't able to provide much detail on my proposal as I have done above, but essentially that is it as depicted above. With the increased lack of leisure time this would be a more accurate reflection on the kind of efficiencies that business today utilizes.

I'd appreciate any commentary on this proposal and what one might think about it.

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I am interested in CNG vehicles because they are good for the environment and aren't powered by dead Marines. I still have a little hope for the world. Read the musings and enjoy.