Richard Branson Predicts the Death of the 9-to-5 Workday and the 5-day Work Week

By: Marie Donlon

Thanks to advances in technology, the five-day work week and two-day weekend will soon be a thing of the past, according to British entrepreneur Richard Branson.

"The idea of working five days a week with two day weekends and a few weeks of holiday each year has become ingrained in society. But it wasn't always the case, and it won't be in the future," Branson wrote in a recent blogpost.

"As Google's Larry Page and others have said, the amount of jobs available for people is going to decrease as technology progresses. New innovations will drive industries forward, but they will also reduce our reliance on people power," Branson wrote. "Ideas such as driverless cars and more advanced drones are becoming a reality, and machines will be used for more and more jobs in the future. Even pilot-less planes will  become the reality in the not too distant future."

Such a prediction is not Branson’s alone as Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk has cautioned in recent years that technology will likely usurp human jobs.

"There certainly will be job disruption. Because what's going to happen is robots will be able to do everything better than us....I mean all of us," Musk said back in 2017.

However, Branson’s outlook on the matter is lighter than Musk’s with Branson writing, "On the face of it, this sounds like bad news for people."

Experts predict that unemployment rates will likely be similar to what they are now, even if the types of jobs change.

According to Branson, if "governments and businesses are clever, the advance of technology could actually be really positive for people all over the world."

An example, according to Branson would involve governments paying to retrain workers while also determining how to keep incomes at the same level.

Branson predicts that technology could produce “smarter working practices.”

"Could people eventually take three and even four day weekends? Certainly. Will job-sharing increase? I think so," Branson added.

Back in January, Microsoft cofounder and billionaire Bill Gates echoed a similar sentiment.

"Well, certainly we can look forward to the idea that vacations will be longer at some point. The purpose of humanity is not just to sit behind a counter and sell things. More free time is not a terrible thing," said Gates.

Branson concluded in his post, "I'm lucky in being able to work wherever I am, at any time, and don't see work and play as separate – it's all living. I think this will be the case for more and more people in the future, to the benefit of businesses, countries and individuals."