18 Scientific Reasons Why the Work Week Should Be Shorter

Posted on 2nd Feb, 2017 by Barbara Davidson

The amount of hours we put in at work each week is based on 1920s ideals. Machines are able to do more and more of the tasks we used to do, yet our working week stays the same. Surely there are good reasons to shorten the amount of time we spend in the office?

Well, now is the time to be bold and take your schedule into your own hands. There is, in fact, plenty of evidence that working fewer hours each week will be good for you and your boss. We know that having more control over your own schedule results in less sick leave. In one test, nurses who switched to six-hour working days took half as much time off for illness as those on eight-hour shifts. Good news for the boss!

And for yourself, shorter hours mean more time for family, relationships and hobbies. You’ll have more energy for work, which makes you more likely to achieve your ambitions and a sense of fulfillment.

Our new infographic identifies 18 pieces of evidence that support a shift to a shorter working week. From health to happiness to productivity, at the very least it shows that we need to rethink our work patterns as soon as possible.

Perhaps you’ll share it with your boss, or think about what you can do to change the way you work. Shorter hours mean better business — and a better way of life.

Widrich, L. (2016). The Origin of the 8-Hour Work Day and Why We Should Rethink It. blog.bufferapp.com.
Rogers, K. Henry Ford Announces 5 Day Work Week. worldhistoryproject.org.
Greenfield, R. The Six-Hour Workday Works in Europe. What About America? bloomberg.com
Virtanen, M. (2012). Overtime Work as a Predictor of Major Depressive Episode: A 5-Year Follow-Up of the Whitehall II Study. journals.plos.org
Kivimäki, M. et al. (2015). Long working hours and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis of published and unpublished data for 603 838 individuals. thelancet.com.
Schor, J. (2010). Sustainable work schedules for all. blogs.worldwatch.org.
Ruhm, C. (2006). Macroeconomic Conditions, Health and Government Policy. npc.umich.edu.
The Economist (2013). Get a life. economist.com
Dishman, L. (2012). Unlimited vacation doesn’t create slackers – it ensures productivity. fastcompany.com
Alderman, L. (2016). In Sweden, an experiment turns shorter workdays into bigger gains. nytimes.com
Peterson, K. (2014). Is it time for a four-day workweek? cbsnews.com.
Family and Work Institute. (2013). 2013 Guide to Bold New Ideas for Making Work Work. familiesandwork.org.
Tang, C. and MacDermid Wadsworth, S. (2008). Time and workplace flexibility. familiesandwork.org
American Psychological Association. (2015). Work-Life Survey. apaexcellence.org
Love, J. (2012). The Case for a Four-Day Work Week. inc.com

About Barbara Davidson

Babs is Lead Content Strategist and financial guru. She loves exploring fresh ways to save more and enjoy life on a budget! When she’s not writing, you’ll find her binge-watching musicals, reading in the (sporadic) Chicago sunshine and discovering great new places to eat. Accio, tacos!