18 reasons why a shorter work day might be best
This woman is already enjoying her extra time off. Image: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

18 reasons why a shorter work day might be best

14 Mar 2017

A nine-to-five work day has been the norm since the 1920s. Is it time we considered a shorter option?

We would all love a shorter work day. We’ve been working nine to five since the 1920s when Henry Ford first implemented the change from a 16-hour work day.

Our eight-hour model has pretty much remained the same, despite the changes that have been happening all around us.

Could it be possible, with so much societal change over the last century and the rapid advances in technology, that certain industries could afford an even shorter work day?

Sweden has already trialled this in a nursing home, and while it proved to be a costly experiment, it gave positive results, in terms of patient care, staff happiness and fewer sick days.

The reasons for the positive results are scientific. Longer hours in work result in increased stress and health problems. It can also lead to poor lifestyle choices.

How many people have stayed in the office late and been guilty of picking up unhealthy snacks and meals? Not to mention the fact that the longer you spend at your desk, the less likely you will be to exercise that day.

A six-hour work day also appears to yield more productive employees. According to the infographic below, companies that have switched from an eight-hour work day to a six-hour work day have reported no decrease in work output.

With technology making a number of jobs easier to do in a shorter space of time, there is scope for certain companies and industries to consider restructuring the archaic nine-to-five model. This would switch the focus from hours clocked to goals achieved.

There is also an ongoing struggle to achieve the perfect work-life balance. With slightly less time dedicated to work, an employee would have an easier time finding the right balance and stopping one from bleeding into the other.

Check out the infographic below from NetCredit for more scientific reasons on why a shorter work day might be best for everyone.

Shorter work day

Infographic: NetCredit

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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