Why We Should Abandon The 24-Hour Economy
In these days we can’t live without the 24-hours economy. This means we can shop until we drop or going to stores at any time of the day.
What is a 24-hours economy?
A 24-hours economy is a service available at any time of the day. Every day. The numerals stand for 24 hours per day and every day of the week. So — as there are seven days per week — we have the opportunity to shop that many hours in a day. Or work 24 hours, 7 days per week, as people could work in shifts and the machines are turned on day and night 24/7/365.
People are working much longer than years ago when the standards were from 9 am until 5 pm. Now there are even shops open in the evenings and on the weekends. Sometimes in the middle of the night.
Every online shop is open 24-hours. Today, we have more online shops than offline shops. You are a few clicks away from your new jeans — which will be delivered tomorrow, by the way.
When it started
At the end of the twentieth century, people wanted to have more freedom to — when they’re not finished with their work — continue after working time. In America, it was going on already and this was sent to more countries in the world. There is no 9 am until 5 pm culture anymore. People are working at home too when they've not finished at the office.
People are thinking more about how we all can be more productive or increase working hours. They want to finish their work before going to sleep, whether they are at the office or at home.
The purpose of the 24-hour economy
There was a need to work longer to finish work. People needed more hours to work and finishing their work or make more products. It is not only working in the office. People are also working more at home. Thus the flexibility of working more hours per day.
For organizations and companies, the opening hours increased until nightlife. People working in shifts, like in hospitals. So the machines are on continuously. This means more income for the companies. The companies have more income as they are operating day and night with people working in shifts.
When people are working in shifts day and night, there will be more products. When there are more products, they can sell more. Thus the more selling products, the more income for the company.
But there is also a need to increase nightlife in a city. People want to go out as well. For the restaurants and cafés, there is the opportunity to increase their opening hours to see people dining until 12 am. Thus more money if people just want to drink something until closing time before midnight.
Why should we do things faster?
For the last few years, we’ve wanted to do our tasks faster. Everything should be fast. The service, the people working more and harder, cycling faster, walking faster, doing more in the working hours, and so on. You name it and it could be faster. This is the expectation of everyone around us. If you’re not doing what’s expected, then you’re a weirdo. To me, you’re not.
People want to do more throughout the day, see friends — talk to them and spend time with them, but also, they want to do more work within the working hours and maybe later on the day at home. But they realized they had no time for what they want to do. What matters the most to them. So, people are working at home further.
Do we really need this?
Sometimes I am really curious if we need the rush and speed in this world. Don’t get me wrong — I totally understand. I understand when people want to do more in their life, for work, and with friends. But your life has a limited time, which we need to spend accurately. We need to take care of ourselves, but also the time we have to get the peace we need as human beings.
I live near the grocery store — which is open from 8 am until 9 pm. When I forget to buy milk for the next morning I walk to the grocery store (60 seconds away from my home) and then I have two packages for the next morning. So, I totally understand, but it is made easy for us. We will not think about the shopping lists, grocery lists for one week.
When you buy presents for Christmas, you can easily shop until midnight.
The thing is, I don’t see any need in being open for 24-hours. Can we sleep before 10 pm when you still hear noise from a crowded shopping center before midnight? I don’t think so. At least, I can’t! People want to buy products at any moment of the day.
Why we should abandon the 24-hour economy
I think we should abandon this appearance. On Sundays, you need to rest, you need to walk, and have silence in your neighborhood. Not only on Sundays. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in God and I am not going to church on Sundays, but I also need rest. The peace in my village on Sundays.
Also in your spare time, like the evening. You already worked your butt off in the office or elsewhere and then you want to sit on your couch watching the new episode of your favorite show, walking or cycling or whatever you do as a hobby. That’s what I want. You need to rest in the evening and not only on the weekend or at night. Or doing the groceries.
A lot of offline shops are open until 9 pm. Even on Sunday, the grocery stores are open in my village from 12 pm until 9 pm. This is really crazy. I mean, I don’t get it why we should be available for 24-hours! Like with being available through messengers to answer.
Agnes Laurens is a writer. She writes for the local newspaper. Agnes lives in Bunnik, The Netherlands with her husband and three daughters. Writing is — aside from playing the violin — one of her passions since childhood. She is on Twitter and Instagram.