My latest Quartz at Work piece begins:
The trend toward intense 70-hour work weeks is well-documented. Yet even as it has become standard in some industries to work until midnight on most weekdays, there’s also a trend in the opposite direction.
German union IG Metall recently negotiated an agreement allowing workers to work 28 hours (with adjusted pay) instead of the full 35 hours, for instance, and a startup based in Portland experimented with tacking back to 32 hours in 2015 (it reverted to a 5 day 40 hour workweek a year later). Four-day weeks are a regular topic of discussion.
When I look closely at the opposing discussions—one that involves working as much as possible, the other for fewer hours than has for a century been considered standard—I see not only a conversation about hours but one about two conflicting philosophies of work: the Protestant view of labor and the Catholic view of labor.
You can read the piece in its entirety here.