Killing The 40-Hour Workweek
Business Traveler|May 2017

Has the time come to rethink how employees are paid?

 

Amanda Mendoza

It’s not news that the 40-hour workweek is dead. Gone is the notion that employees are most productive when they are at their desks from 9 to 5 Mondays through Fridays. We know now that humans are different; some do their best work at 6 AM and others get the most done at 6 PM. So how can the traditional 40-hour workweek be restructured to restore a more healthy work-life balance?

One big problem is understanding that workers aren’t really working only 40 hours. The devices that keep them connected to their friends and family also keep them connected to work.

This always-on mode provoked French officials to pass a law that, as of January 1, 2017, employers are required to make clear their expectations for how employees should be available outside of work hours.

The trick is that the law requires only clarification. Employers just have to explain the rules; it’s up to the employees to agree to the rules and continue to work there, or quit. While the law hasn’t made any large-scale change (so far), it has prompted dialogue about the issue.

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