Um estudo do NEF, New Economics Foundation de Londres, sugere que seria muito mais racional evoluirmos da semana de 40 horas para uma semana de 21 horas. Lembremos que Keynes sugeria, numa simbólica “carta aos netos”, que neste fim de século, com as novas tecnologias, não precisaríamos trabalhar mais de 15 horas por semana.

Não se trata de sonhos, e sim de uma evolução inevitável, exigida tanto pela proteção dos recursos naturais, como pelo direito de acesso de todos a ganharem a sua vida, e pela necessária evolução da economia para setores mais centrados no conhecimento – além evidentemente da qualidade de vida no trabalho e fora dele.

Vale a pena ver o estudo, está em inglês, o link é O artigo não é longo, 33 páginas, e abre perspectivas. Lembremos que a redução da jornada está se tornando um dos focos mais importantes de uma agenda de mudanças sociais.
Executive summary

This report sets out arguments for a much shorter working week. It proposes a radical change in what is considered ‘normal’ – down from 40 hours or more, to 21 hours. While people can choose to work longer or shorter hours, we propose that 21 hours – or its equivalent spread across the calendar year – should become the standard that is generally expected by government, employers, trade unions, employees, and everyone else.
Planet, people, and markets: reasons for change
A much shorter working week would change the tempo of our lives, reshape habits and conventions, and profoundly alter the dominant cultures of western society. Arguments for a 21-hour week fall into three categories, reflecting three interdependent ‘economies’, or sources of wealth, derived from the natural resources of the planet, from human resources, assets and relationships, inherent in everyone’s everyday lives, and from markets. Our arguments are based on the premise that we must recognise and value all three economies and make sure they work together for sustainable social justice.
Safeguarding the natural resources of the planet. Moving towards a much shorter working week would help break the habit of living to work, working to earn, and earning to consume. People may become less attached to carbon-intensive consumption and more attached to relationships, pastimes, and places that absorb less money and more time. It would help society to manage without carbon-intensive growth, release time for people to live more sustainably, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Social justice and well-being for all. A 21-hour ‘normal’ working week could help distribute paid work more evenly across the population, reducing ill-being associated with unemployment, long working hours and too little control over time. It would make it possible for paid and unpaid work to be distributed more equally between women and men; for parents to spend more time with their children – and to spend that time differently; for people to delay retirement if they wanted to, and to have more time to care for others, to participate in local activities and to do other things of their choosing. Critically, it would enable the ‘core’ economy to flourish by making more and better use of uncommodified human resources in defining and meeting individual and shared needs. It would free up time for people to act as equal partners, with professionals and other public service workers, in co-producing well-being.

A robust and prosperous economy. Shorter working hours could help to adapt the economy to the needs of society and the environment, rather than subjugating society and environment to the needs of the economy. Business would benefit from more women entering the workforce; from men leading more rounded, balanced lives; and from reductions in work-place stress associated with juggling paid employment and home-based responsibilities. It could also help to end credit-fuelled growth, to develop a more resilient and adaptable economy, and to safeguard public resources for investment in a low-carbon industrial strategy and other measures to support a sustainable economy.