Dale Whelehan

Finding balance

2 minute read

Behavioral scientist Dale Whelehan wants you to work less—and he may even be able to convince your boss it’s a good idea. 

As CEO of 4 Day Week Global, the leading organization pushing for shorter workweeks worldwide, Whelehan is steering an ambitious effort to secure a cumulative 1 million more years of free time for people around the world, all by slashing the amount of time they spend on the job. 4 Day Week pushes companies to shoot for “100-80-100” status: getting 100% of work done in 80% the number of hours, while employees make 100% of their salaries.

It may sound like wishful thinking, but by the end of this year, companies in 20 countries will have participated in the group’s trials to test out shorter workweeks. Among those that already have, employees have reported results like reductions in stress and burnout and increases in sleep, exercise, and family time. Employers including Kickstarter and Greenpeace Australia have permanently switched after participating in the group’s trials, and government officials from 16 countries have met with Whelehan and his team to discuss how to make the schedule work at scale. Whelehan says they see what he does: that giving people more free time has trickle-down benefits on their physical health, mental well-being, relationships, communities, and even the environment, because people who are rich in free time tend to use it well.

“When people are happy and healthy, they tend to do well in work and vice versa,” he says. “It’s a pretty simple philosophy, really.”

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Write to Jamie Ducharme at jamie.ducharme@time.com