He was sitting in front of me, altogether changed. But the good thing was that the change was good. He was my client. He came to me some 6 months ago. He was not satisfied with his working hours. He claimed due to long working hours his mental and physical health is disturbed. His family life is disturbed, he could not give his religious obligations enough time, and overall all is tiring not only physically but also psychologically. We gave notice to the CEO of his company. We mentioned all of his claims and assurance that if they will assign him fully paid less working hours he will give some benefit to the company as before, same of course if could not more.
CEO called both of us and heard us calmly. For more formal proceedings he constituted a Board solely for this purpose the same day. The whole legal team was prepared against us and this notice just turned into a fun activity throughout in office. After literal long and tiring arguments, evidences of experts like economists, sociologists, and psychologists the Board decided that a chance should be given to us.
They gave my client a trial of 3 months. They released a special work agreement according to which my client had to do 6 hours of work in a day and 5 days a week. He had two tea breaks in it and one lunch break. According to him in the initial 2 weeks, he found it difficult to cope with the changed worked routine. Work momentum was used to disturbed due to tea breaks and lunch break. The family also got disturbed as they were not used to too much time and demands from him. He felt alone for several hours for several evenings.
But after 2 weeks he made his new schedule. His family also started accepting his routine and then they started planning many plans on how to spend evenings with him, his children were happy, his parents were glad and his wife was glowing. He started taking part in home chores. They spent the first holiday of the week out in the forest while on the normal weekend they started visiting their friends and extended family homes, they also started inviting them to brunches, suppers, and dinners.
1st month of his work report was not as good as before. His 2nd month’s report gained strength. His 3rd month’s report yielded 2 percent better work performance than of his pretrial performance. He was looking jubilant, healthy, and happy and his company was now eager to apply the same trial to some whole departments. This was a day of victory, my client got a permanent work contract with the same working hours. He invited me to tea for a celebration and how can I refuse, so I accepted. The end was like a happy marry go.
Do you like to know our arguments before the Board?
Firstly we told them that the whole industrial revolution of England was revolving around the slogan of “Eight hours’ labor, Eight hours’ recreation, Eight hours’ rest”. , French also fought for 12 hours of work hours and carpenters of the USA did the same in 1717. They all got what they want. Now we are in the 21st century, with more different needs and demands, now we have technology which can convert 8 hours into 5 or 6.
Secondly there among economic institution of society, there are also other institutions like family, kinship, religion, politics, and of course recreation. All of these institutions need our special attention so that a balanced society can come into existence with an ideal contribution and productivity rate.
Thirdly we gave ILO and other international national economic forums’, psychological institutions studies, discussion papers, and experiment details which affirms our claim.
Fourthly we gave yearly reports of countries showing their working hours and productivity levels. And as exactly as our claim was, Germany was the country with the least working hours and most productivity. Workers in the UK and the USA do less work in more hours than Europeans; they give more results in fewer hours.
Our arguments won the hearts of the Board and they granted us what we want. I think the reasons were enough. Overburdened routine drags people to fatigue, mental and physical both. Then it leads to an individual’s mental and physical illness. This does not stop there; the same illness infects society and the basic unit of society, the family faces malfunctioning.
We can reduce working hours in two ways. In the first case, we can reduce working days of week while daily working time remains the same. In other cases, we can retain working days the same but can reduce daily working hours. My client did his job. He fought for what he thought is just and I stood beside him. Now it’s your turn. We work for a better life but we always compromise our life for our work. Let us all change it.