By Greg Schwem, Tribune Content Agency
Aw, heck, let’s just work one day a week.
I mean, we’re all overstressed, burned out, mentally exhausted and up in arms that receiving paychecks requires us to do something other than attend spin classes whenever we feel like it. Never mind that our parents, their parents, and their parents’ parents clocked in at 9 a.m. and left at 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. True, there was no such thing as Zoom to haunt their weekend plans; but there also wasn’t a “Bring Your Dog to Work” day at my dad’s office.
We demand a shorter workweek. We want Dolly Parton to sing, “Workin’ 9 to noon, ’cause three hours should be plenty; Boss, my brain is fried, although I’m still in my 20s…”
Bosses and even politicians appear to be learning the new lyrics, or at least humming the tune. Last July, Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) introduced a bill amending the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, reducing the standard work week from 40 to 32 hours. The bill is currently languishing in the House and the chances of it remaining there will only intensify if Congress decides to take Fridays off.
Meanwhile, a nonprofit pilot program, 4 Day Week Global, is encouraging companies to sign up and participate in shortened weeks. The website contains a petition, seeking 100,000 signatures from employees who favor working less, even naming specific companies and the number of employees who have already signed. When I checked, the petition had received 114 signatures from Amazon workers, a figure I found shockingly low considering the guy who kept dropping packages at my door the week prior to Christmas appeared to be working about 100 hours a week.
The site points to companies like crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and fintech startup Bolt, which have switched to four-day workweeks. It also posts studies with phrases like “productivity increase” and “laser focused employees” as proof that a three-day weekend is an idea whose time has come.
So, why stop there?
If workers are “laser focused” working four days a week, imagine how sharp they would be if they worked three days? Or two? Or even one? Let’s try it. I hereby present to you a company that requires employees only produce eight hours of weekly work. I’ll call it Slack.
Wait, that company already exists. My bad. Let’s call it Slacker. That’s a movie but not yet a Fortune 500 company.
Before my company is besieged with applications from enterprising workers who want to change the world providing it doesn’t conflict with thrice weekly Pilates sessions, please be aware that working for Slacker does have some drawbacks.
During your one day of employment, you cannot break for lunch.
Red Bull and other energy drinks are forbidden. If you need a “jolt” before starting your weekly eight-hour shift, you’re probably not going to fit in at Slacker.
Don’t even think about asking for paid vacation.
You will be required to work in an office, which will not contain clocks of any type. I don’t need Slacker employees, on their way to the parking lot to begin their six-day weekends, saying, “Man, I thought 5 o’clock would NEVER get here.”
Calling in sick is allowed, but sick days must be made up in full. That’s right, if you’re sick one day, you must work TWO days the following week. If that makes me a tyrant of a boss, just remember there are plenty of jobs available at Kickstarter, where your workload will quadruple!
I will pay you an honest wage, but don’t expect a 401(k) or profit-sharing plan of any type. You’ll have plenty of free time to become a Bitcoin millionaire.
Finally, I will not offer a health care plan, but I will provide gym memberships. Slacker employees are expected to use their off time to stay in shape. I don’t need any workforce members unexpectedly dropping dead on their off days.
Greg Schwem is a corporate stand-up comedian and author of two books: “Text Me If You’re Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad” and the recently released “The Road To Success Goes Through the Salad Bar: A Pile of BS From a Corporate Comedian,” available at Amazon.com. Visit Greg on the web at www.gregschwem.com.