According to Forbes, Mexican telecom magnate Carlos Slim is the world’s second richest man, with a net worth of US$72 billion. He also thinks you should work less.
That’s the message Slim recently delivered at a business gathering in Paraguay, as reported by the Financial Times. Slim proposed that a three-day workweek could be implemented if people were willing to work 11-hour days and forego retirement until age 70 or 75. He believes that the shortened workweek would allow more time to relax and pursue entertainment and that people could then find more fulfilling ways to occupy their time.
Slim’s policy is like that of the late auto manufacturer Henry Ford, who standardized the five-day workweek (instead of the six days that was the norm at the time) without reducing employee pay. Eventually, the five-day workweek became the norm throughout North America.
Slim isn’t all talk either; he’s backing his words up. Employees at his Telmex phone company who began working there in their teens are able to retire before turning 50, but they can also continue working four days a week for full pay if they wish. Mexico’s average workweek comprises of 6 eight-hour work days, although many people only work half days on Saturdays.
Changing the standard five-day, forty-hour workweek isn’t a new idea. Parts of Sweden recently implemented six-hour work days with the hope of relieving mental stress and thus increasing productivity and decreasing sick days. In 2000, France adopted the 35-hour work week.