How many of you in the morning, as soon as you wake up, you take your phone and start to read your emails? Then, having breakfast, at home or at the bar, you keep browsing websites or reading newspapers, focusing with particular attention to those news related to your work? At 9 o’clock you sit at the desk and start your day at work.
And then, how many of you leave the office at 18, head for home, and after dinner take the smartphone, check again the emails, surf the social media and then promptly return to read those news and insights that couldn’t read carefully in the morning?
I believe that 90% of the people who are reading these lines can identify perfectly with the description just made.
The question arises spontaneously.
Are effectively 8 the hours who everybody spends for his work?
For Germany the answer is No!
According to the German economists’ council, the Sachverstaendigenrat, setting the working day at 8 hours is an obsolete practice, and not in line with reality, although in line with the established daily limit of labor codes. According to German economists, digitization is influencing not only the way people work, but also the time and quality of people’s working time. According to the study conducted in 2016 by the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), digitization has led to an increase in work rather than an improvement in living conditions. It is more and more clear that the daily presence of smartphones in people’s lives makes sure that each of us can be reached all around the clock 7 days/week wherever he or she is.
The German Prime Minister, Christoph Schmidt, stated in the German newspaper “Welt” that the legislation concerning worker protection has always been efficient and effective, but no longer in step with the times. Getting an employee to attend an evening conference call is likely to be a practice that goes against the law.
The German proposal
On November 8th, 2017, a proposal was forward to the Government by the German Council of Economic Experts requesting the elimination of the 8 working hours and change the weekly limit from 40 to 48 hours, without any daily restrictions.
In this way, every company can give its employees the flexibility to organize their day according to their needs. The need for greater flexibility is an increasingly pressing need. We need to meet the needs but also the interests of businesses and workers. Giving the freedom to organize work, without time constraints also allows an improvement in the quality of time spent and work itself.
Naturally, whether the proposal will be ever accepted, precautionary measures will be necessary to avoid abuses, but revolutions in the workplace, changes and new challenges are the historical basis of the performance, sometimes positive sometimes negative, of the economy of a country.
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