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A Shorter Working Week: Implications for Travel and Sustainability

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Gareth Evans


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A New Economics Foundation report from 2010 advocates a move towards a shorter ‘normal’ working week, from 40 hours to 21 hours. A shorter working week has been proposed to create a more sustainable society, a more equitable share of work and wealth, emphasising ‘quality of life’ instead of ‘quantity of consumption’. The leading argument in any reduction of the official working week has almost always been motivated by the (perceived) economic benefits of such change; we believe there are wider issues to be considered in adopting a shorter working week, moving beyond the existing economic rationale and justifications. This paper discusses the results of an online survey and two Focus Groups which investigated the potential implications of a shorter working week for sustainability, changes to working practices and travel habits. Our results found that whilst 9 out of 10 respondents would welcome a shorter working week, 51% would have concerns about a reduction in their income. Analysis of the results also suggest that individuals who were more willing to adopt a shorter working week are also more likely to be sustainably -minded: for example, respondent s who would be more open to a shorter working week were more willing to walk or cycle instead of using the car whilst those not willing/able to adopt a shorter working week were likely to be less motivated to search for a job closer to home to minimise their travel. Whilst moving towards a shorter working week is neither feasible nor desirable for everyone, and will require a shift in our overall societal mind-set to be successful, our study indicates there are some sections of the working population who could consider adopti ng a shorter working week in the future and this has potential to make travel behaviours more sustainable. Normal 0 false false false EN-GB ZH-CN X-NONE

Publication metadata

Author(s): Evans GD, Guiver JW

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 46th UTSG Annual Conference

Year of Conference: 2014

Pages: 12

Publisher: UTSG


Notes: Paper presented at the 46th UTSG Annual Conference, copy can be made available by e-mailing author