Is it time to let go of the “standard” 40-hour work week that evolved in the factory-based industrial society?

NEF (the new economics foundation), an “independent think-and-do tank that inspires and demonstrates real economic well-being” in the U.K., suggests it is.

In today’s economy the standard 40-hour work week drives a vicious cycle of work and consumption: being required to put in 40 hours of paid work leaves little time for doing non-paid work or creativity, so one spends money to satisfy basic needs (such as buying prepared food and entertainment that requires little energy or preparation to participate in), which raises the need for more money — driving the cycle.

NEF suggests a realistic paid work-week for the 21st century is 21 hours. Were the 21-hour work-week socially accepted it would redistribute meaningful work to more people and allow everyone time to participate in (and have the energy to enjoy) the parts of life we increasingly farm out (and pay someone else to do) including caring for our family, traveling, reading, learning, and pursuing creative activities.

What do you think?