Mexico’s richest man believes that “shorter workweeks are a solution to civilization shifts.”
According to billionaire Carlos Slim, the increased reliance on technology in the workplace means that people themselves can work less. Not only does this ensure better operational efficiency, but it means “people live longer, in better health, and without the need for physical effort.”
Knowledge-based skills will be in high demand, leaving technology to take over tedious tasks and humans to focus on advancements that will have a significant impact on the future of work.
The best way to usher in this shift? Slim says it’s a three-day work week.
“Nations wouldn’t have to face early retirements that are financially destabilizing,” said Slim.
“The quality of life and having four days a week free would encourage a lot of economic activities—more tourism, entertainment, sports, culture, and education. People can take advantage of those extra days to keep learning.”
But doesn’t a shorter workweek mean less pay? According to Slim, no, because companies that can accommodate this shift have excess employees. With less work days, employers can afford to pay essential workers the same (if not more). In return, workers are enticed to stay on longer.
For instance, at telecommunications company Telmex, 40% of workers that were offered a shorter workweek accepted this arrangement.
However, Slim acknowledges that a three-day workweek isn’t applicable to all industries.
“Instead of cutting personnel, you can enter a scheme like this, where you can have more people, maybe pay more salaries, but you’re avoiding having to pay when workers retire early,” said Slim. “If I had been a regular worker in Telmex, I would have been retired for 22 years.”