Google CEO Larry Page believes working too much is bad


Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page said that people shouldn't be working as much as they currently do because there is really no need for people to do so.

Page, along with co-founder Sergey Brin, sat down for an interview with Khosla Ventures founder Vinod Khosla at a summit for Khosla Ventures.

The interview discussed topics that include an early chance for the Google co-founders to have sold the company, the ongoing battle being waged between the tech-haves and have-nots, and machines being able to learn and taking jobs previously for humans.

The interview then moved to the topic of the 40-hour work week, and that not everyone needs to do it.

"I totally believe we should be living in a time of abundance," Page said. "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 adds that the people working 40-hour work weeks are addressing social needs, and not financial ones. He said that people only go to work that long to feel needed and wanted, as people are not happy if there is nothing to do.

Page also said that unemployment problems can be solved if companies would begin hiring two part-time employees in the place of one full-time employee. Page believes that this will work with most workers as while they enjoy the benefits of employment, workers also wish to have more time at home with their loved ones or more opportunities to pursue their interests outside of work.

The move of hiring two part-time employees over one full-time employee is similar to what Virgin founder Richard Branson is doing to address the unemployment problem in the U.K.

Page, however, did not confirm that he would apply the principles that he discussed at Google.

While Page's thoughts regarding people having to work for less hours, leading to companies hiring more people, is nice to the ears, the initiative will not solve everything that has been problematic in the labor force, according to Moor Insights & Strategy analyst Patrick Moorhead.

While Moorhead sees the value of allowing two employees to gain work experience instead of just one, part-time employment does not enjoy the same benefits of full-time employment. As an example, rent for apartments or accommodations do not become half when an employee only receives half of a salary, Moorhead said.

Moorhead adds that Page's comments are a bit idealistic, especially to the typical Google user.

The Gabriel Consulting Group analyst Dan Olds adds to the criticisms on Page's comments, stating that Page's strategy skips details such as how part-time employees can get by with part-time salaries.

However, Olds said, the idea will most likely be well accepted by people that have not been able to successfully find employment.

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