[LI] A shorter job-day; reconceptualizing types of work

Two items concerning how we think about “work” posted to LinkedIn in May 2018. The first is another in what is becoming a mini-genre of articles about the potential for the standard job/work-day being less than the familiar 8 hours. The second is an older academic article discussing how we categorize different types of work, with attention to the context and, significantly, to whether or not they are remunerated.

The case for a five-hour working day,” Pilita Clark, Financial Times, 6 May 2018 (posted 6 May 2018)

Another discussion of needing less hours on the job – in this case 5 – to do what used to be done in the traditional 8. Pilita Clark describes a couple of cases & makes good points. Should more companies experiment with it?

(my comment)

Tangential point: Just as “work” & “job” are not the same, so we should also perhaps speak of “job-day” when referring to hours on the job, rather than the traditional “work-day” or “working day.” This distinction will become more important if/as the number of hours on the job decreases for one or more reasons.

Extending conceptual boundaries: Work, voluntary work, and employment,” Rebecca F. Taylor, Work, Employment and Society, 18(1): 29-49. 2004 (posted 9 May 2018)

If you’re thinking about what we mean by “work,” or about “the future of work,” have a look at Rebecca F. Taylor’s 2004 article “Extending Conceptual Boundaries: Work, Voluntary Work and Employment.” First of all she critiques the paid work-unpaid work dichotomy, which she points out has really been limited to paid labor in the formal economy on the one hand (which receives almost all the attention), and unpaid labor in the domestic sphere (historically associated with “women’s work”) on the other hand. She then offers a more developed framework within which to look at a fuller range of work activities in the socio-economy (see image, reproduced with permission).

Having spent some time thinking about boundaries among full-time employment, short-term contracts, volunteering (variously defined), and other unpaid work, I found the article and diagrams very interesting.

Dr. Taylor, now at Univ. of Southampton, has written further on this topic, for instance in the SAGE Handbook of the Sociology of Work & Employment, 2016.


Return to Other blogs > LinkedIn