Working fewer hours can positively impact both your mental health and your physical health. It gives you more time to unwind, exercise, and see friends and family. But there’s another benefit to a shorter work week you might not have considered: It’s also good for the planet.
Autonomy, a European think tank, studied the connection between greenhouse gas emissions and the number of hours people work every week to determine how many hours per week of work our current climate can actually afford. And according to their research
, we can’t afford many.
The study states that “the actual sustainable work week, based on today’s levels of productivity and carbon intensity, would likely need to be well below 10 hours per week per person, even in relatively carbon-efficient economies.”
While working less than 10 hours a week is a plan that we can all get behind, that’s obviously not feasible. Still, it’s an eye-opening figure that’s hard to ignore. Perhaps more companies could seriously consider implementing four-day work weeks—or at the very least, letting employees work from home more often.
In a shorter work week, fewer people would commute to their offices, which would significantly reduce carbon emissions related to transportation. The report states
that decreasing working hours by just 1% could lead to a 1.46% decrease in carbon footprint.
Of course, a shorter work week is just one of the ways we can help reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change. We’re on board with any idea that benefits our health while making an environmental impact at the same time.