The case for a shorter workweek - Deepstash
Reevaluating the modern workplace

The pandemic has forced us to take a hard look at the modern workplace.

Options such as all-remote or hybrid are becoming part of work mainstream. Another idea is shrinking the workweek. Proponents argue that the reduced hours working model can address current work negatives and make employees more productive, happier and healthier.

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An argument for a shorter workweek

The standard workweek of 40 hours is not set up for efficiency. Energy cannot be sustained for a solid eight hours per day.

  • A 2014 study suggested productivity drops after working 50 hours a week.
  • Other experts suggest that 35 hours is the optimal work time before productivity starts to decline.

Research shows people get more done when they work fewer hours. One high-profile study in Iceland found that productivity remained the same or improved when working either 35 or 36 hour weeks.

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Benefits of a shorter workweek

Working fewer hours leads to happier, healthier, and more engaged workforces.

  • Shorter hours allow people to feel more rested and better able to juggle caring needs.
  • A 2021 study found that reduced working hours kept burnout, boreout and depression at bay.
  • A 2017 study showed reducing working hours by 25% improved sleep and lowered stress.
  • A 1990 study showed working only six hours a day improved workers' family lives.
  • A 2019 study found happy workers are 13% more productive.

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There are different models for a shorter workweek. The four-day week reduce working hours by 20%. Everyone at a company might take the same day off, or people can take two afternoons off. Or, the workweek can be reduced from 40 to 36 hours. Importantly is that salaries remain the same.

Shorter working hours won't work for every role in every industry. While experts urge to exercise caution when implementing these models, they also think now could be the best time to try.

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