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Want to Help the Environment? Science Says We Should Work a Lot Less

We’ve tried a lot of different ways to justify working less. It’s better for our eyes to not look at the screen all day! We need to make time for self-care! The latest episode of The Chi isn’t going to watch itself! Compelling though these reasons might be to our own selves, employers might be a little leery of the reasoning. But new research has come out that shows working fewer hours isn’t just good for your mental and physical well being — it’s also good for the environment.

The modern workday is pretty carbon-intensive. There’s the commute, then the lighting and climate control at the office, and the constant hum of electronics and the blaring light from our various screens.

To make the modern workplace actually sustainable, we’d need to dramatically reduce the number of hours a week we work — according to the new study by Autonomy. Ecologically speaking, the ideal work week would be less than 10 hours per person. I volunteer to test this theory out!

Tragically, there’s no way that could happen without our economy collapsing entirely (unless we completely restructured our government and the way people get an income, but I’ll leave that to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren to figure out). That being said, even just switching to a 4 day work week, or letting people skip the commute entirely and work from home, could have a big impact.

Decreasing the amount we work by just 1% can decrease our carbon footprints by 1.46%, and the effects could be exponential.

For now, we’ll have to strike a balance. Working from home as much as possible, taking public transit and carpooling, and pressuring our offices to stay a little warmer in the summer and a little cooler in the winter can all have a small but important impact. At the end of the day, we may be at the mercy of large corporations and the government when it comes to stopping climate change, but maybe we can help slow things down a little bit by simply working less. Sounds good to me!

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