A 3-Day Workweek? Carlos Slim Wants It, And He's Only The Wealthiest Person On Earth


You've heard of the four-hour workweek, but so far it hasn't caught on. So perhaps Carlos Slim's proposal for a three-day workweek might be more practical and realistic? The Mexican telecommunications tycoon is making the suggestion in an effort to improve quality of life for working citizens. Hey, maybe we should listen, because clearly he's doing something right — Slim is only the richest person in the world after all (he bumped Bill Gates from the top position last week). But it's not a proposal that's all play and no work.

At a recent business conference in Paraguay called "Growing Together — States and Enterprises," which was attended by political and business leaders from all over Latin America, Slim threw out the idea of a "radical overhaul" of the typical workweek. He reasoned that it would not only improve the quality of one's personal life, but also improve productivity on the job.

According to the Financial Times, Slim said at the conference, "With three work days a week, we would have more time to relax; for quality of life. Having four days [off] would be very important to generate new entertainment activities and other ways of being occupied."It sounds like Slim is onto something, something that I would safely guess the entire world would be on board with. It'd be one thing if this were coming from, say, Pauly Shore, but it's being proposed by one of the most successful self-made billionaires in history.

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Known as "the Warren Buffet of Mexico," 74-year-old Slim has built a telecommunications empire with his companies Telmex, a fixed-line phone carrier serving 80 percent of Mexico, and América Móvil, the fifth-largest mobile network operator in the world. He currently has a net worth of around $79.6 billion, just edging out Gates's $79.1 billion.

Here's what Slim's plan would look like.

Work Less Days, but More Hours

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Slim may be proposing less workdays, but work still needs to get done. Instead of five standard eight-hour days, however, he sees the benefits of working three 11-hour days. A 33-hour workweek won't slow companies down if it means that all 33 hours are going to be used to capacity.

There has been sufficient evidence that the less hours you have to work, the more productive you will be in that time frame. According to the New York Times, the founder of 37signals software company in Chicago has seen concrete success in switching to a four-day week of 32 hours.

Just think of your typical workweek: How many times have you "fallen behind" on sleep early in the week and the rest of it was basically ruined? Imagine having four days a week to catch up on sleep. You'd never have an excuse to phone it in at the office ever again.

Retire Later in Life

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"People are going to have to work for more years, until they are 70 or 75," Slim told the crowd at the conference."

This may seem undesirable at first, but after decades of a more-relaxed work life, one would feel more comfortable and inclined to continue working past the standard retirement age.And just like a shorter workweek, retiring later has its advantages as well. Not only are you continuing to earn money, which means a shorter retirement period to save for and fund, but having a job gives one a sense of purpose, preventing health problems that develop from being sedentary, such as Alzheimer's.

Other Benefits

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Just in case you're not already sold on this brilliant, brilliant idea, there are additional benefits to a three-day workweek. Besides being more productive at work and sustaining longevity, working less days will allow people to spend more time with their friends and families. Studies show that a healthy work-life balance plays a significant role in the success of a company. Not only that, but your family life will remain healthy and intact as well.

Lastly, working less days means commuting less days, which means giving our planet a much-needed break. Think of all the car pollution, noise pollution, and energy use not working two work days would save us. According to this infographic, decreasing the number of hours by just 10 percent a week would shrink our carbon footprint by 15 percent.Images: Getty