• Fewer hours: Lifesaver for our relationships?

    12.06.2019 Warsaw. Center metro station. Collecting signatures for the Secular State Project. Photo: Maciek Jazwiecki / Agencja Wyborcza.pl.

    I can remember their fatigue all too well. Our parents’ generation subordinated their entire lives to work. They always filled their free time with a list of activities – partly out of financial necessity, and partly because they could not come up with idea how to spend it. Leisure was seen as something for losers, who didn’t care about anything in life. That is why they, who were the first generation to get a whiff of capitalism, entrusted their lives to money.

    Working hard, and overhours, was the only way to get by. Consequently, some of us got to know our parents poorly and still miss them. My peers, people aged 25-30, with different points of view and life experiences, all say the same: their parents worked too long hours, and, when bringing up their children, gave too much emphasis to the importance of achieving financial stability.

    For our parents, luxury was constituted by all the preys of juvenile capitalism. To fully enjoy it, one had to play by the rules dictated by the free market economy. On the other hand, our generation is slowly writing our own definition of luxury. Its basic ingredient is not financial freedom, but free time. And how much of it an employer can guarantee us may be the scale which determines the labour market, or even turns it upside down.

    The four-day working week becomes an inevitable perspective. It is not a mere whim of a lazy neo-liberal society, but a solution with tangible benefits for companies, bosses, subordinates, the inexorably changing climate and the economy itself. Beyond these categories, there is something else. That one extra day of the weekend is also an opportunity given to the next generation. A chance to no longer miss the chance to see anyone, to have the strength to nurture relationships and build a healthy society.

    This article is part of the "How should work shape our lives?" edition
    Fewer hours: Lifesaver for our relationships?
    Number of the week: 62% vs 54%
    Four-day week: a boost for gender equality
    Teachers strike over breadline salaries
    Resist the privatisation of time!