Late last week, at the Khosla Ventures summit, Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page staged a fireside chat. After a discussion ranging over many subjects, the informal conversation came to an issue that Page firmly believes. He said we may someday see more part-time work weeks than we do today.That not everyone needs to work a 40-hours a week. In a more theoretical part of the interview, he also said he would like to help unemployment by trying to get companies to hire two part-time workers instead of one full-timer.
“I totally believe we should be living in a time of abundance,” said Page. “Think about what we need — housing, security, education for our kids. The amount of resources and work to do that is pretty small. I’m guessing less than 1%. The idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people’s needs is not true.” Page believes that social aspects are more responsible for the continuation of the 40-hour week schedule, rather than for financial reasons.
“That way, two people have a part-time job instead of one having a full-time job,” said Page. “Most people, if I ask them would you like an extra week of vacation, 100% would raise their hands. Two weeks or a four-day workweek? They’d raise their hands. Most people like working, but they also want more time with their families or their interests. We should have a coordinated way to adjust the work week.” The angle would be that two part-time workers would not have the same benefit requirements as a full time worker, which could be a large savings for any corporation.
While his view utopian society, not unlike the ones seen in “Star Trek”, may win fans, many analysts feel that it will not solve all the current problems and comes off as too idealistic. Controversial though the idea may be, some believe it may gain traction with many Americans who’ve been struggling to find work.