Why the 30-Hour Week is the Future

As the name 30 for Future suggests, the mission of this company is to contribute a positive change to society. Most jobs in our society contribute to the greater good, but there are other aspects of life that are equally important, such as being physically and emotionally present for your children. This is nearly impossible with a 40-hour work week.

Maybe you want to spend more time with your partner or friends, work on a personal project, train a local youth sports club or get involved in political activities. These are just suggestions, who I am to judge what is “good”. But the beautiful thing about 30 for Future is that it gives time back to the people so they can decide what is important outside of work. 30 for Future reflects my trust in human nature — if we give more time to people, something good will come out of it, both in the workplace and personal life.

We live in a crucial time in history with many challenges ahead of us: climate change, right-wing populism, diminished trust in institutions and the increase of fake news around the world. I don’t have the answers to these challenges, but what I deeply believe in is, that we can tackle these problems together as a society if we all have a bit more mind space.

Another inspiration for 30 for Future comes from personal experience. I moved to Berlin in 2017, and, since life outside of work is important for me, I negotiated a 30-hour workweek by telling potential employers that I either work 30 hours per week, or I would choose another company. 

The company that accepted my terms was the company most in need for my position, not the one which was most culturally accepting the 30-hour workweek. In fact, one week after I began as Head of Online Marketing, my boss told me that only if I upgraded to 40 hours a week, I could have a leadership position in the company.

I continued working for this company for more than two years and I realized that many important decisions where not made with composed and clear thinking, but in a stressed mindset. It occurred to me that the company could be much more efficient if employees were less stressed, had more free time and consequently were able to make smart decisions from a clear mindset. 

I also realized during this time, that after lunch, after I worked from 9 am to 3pm, I couldn’t really focus anymore and make good decisions, so the last 90 minutes of work were always not very productive. There is also a study which suggests we can only achieve 4 – 5 hours daily of highly focused cognitive work.

I enjoyed my free Fridays immensely and I always arrived to work on Monday with a fresh mind. I like to visualize it again: III : IIII is much more balanced than II : IIIII. Ultimately, it’s up to you if a 6-hour workday or a 4-day workweek is more suitable to you.

Moreover, at my last company we often had problems hiring skilled people. During this time the idea came to me that a platform which offers 30-hour jobs would be great to attract top talent. I wondered if I was one of the few people who would prefer a 30-hour workweek. So I talked to my personal network, and the majority of them prefer a 30-hour week as well. There is also a study suggesting that 55% (!) of Germans would prefer a 4 day workweek, even if their salaries were reduced by 20%. Work-life balance becomes even more important in our society, as one study suggests, especially among younger generations. So, why did I start 30 for Future? To connect employees to progressive companies who appreciate them as full-time employees, as well as help these employees have a career with a 30-hour workweek. (Check out my other article, why the 30-hour week is great for your (work) life)

The second reason is to help progressive companies to find talented employees and bind them to the company for long-term employment. There are quite a few studies suggesting that a 30-hour week increases recruiting and retention of employees. (You can find them in one of my other article). To cite one study, an online agency introduced the 30-hour week and the amount of applicants went up by the factor of 10!

And, if an employee is able to work 30 hours a week for a company, it’s much more likely that this employee stays longer since they appreciate the 30-hour week and can’t find it so easy elsewhere. Offering employees a 30-hour workweek is a distinctive sign of progressiveness that can be then attributed to the company culture as a whole. Let’s be honest: fruits, drinks and other benefits in the office are great, but almost every company offers that nowadays.

So let’s work together for this cultural change and make 30 hours the new full-time.


Philipp Köbler