Does a Shorter Workweek Spike Up Productivity?

A work team at the office.

Due to the socially tense environment a workplace may create in some cases, it may be vital to one's health and mental stability to set healthy boundaries at work.  (Image: via Pixels)

A compressed workweek essentially plays along with the basic rule of the standard 40-hour week. It’s just that the hours are distributed across weekdays to suit your needs. For instance, you have the 4/10 model where employees work for 10 hours from Monday to Thursday and take Friday off.

The hours can be customized for employees to facilitate their personal schedules in such scenarios, which is a win-win situation for both employees and employers. That being said, there is a silent concurrence within the corporate community that the typical workweek can be much more than 40 hours.

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Receive selected content straight into your inbox.


According to a study done by Ohio University: “Around 40 percent of adults in the U.S. work upwards of 50 hours a week, and more than 18 percent of adults work more than 60 hours a week.”

In an ideal scenario, your brain can operate for an hour efficiently provided it is followed by a 15-minute break. To gain maximum efficiency from an 8-hour workday, this is how it needs to play out. Few people can actually afford to do this in a typical office environment.

There is then the question of how productive an actual day in the office can be. Employees within a typical office are generally spending more than an hour catching up with news online. They also spend an average of 30 to 45 minutes on social media.

Employee chats take away roughly an hour from the typical workday.
Employee chats take away roughly an hour from the typical workday. (Image: via Pixabay)

There is also the other social quotient in almost every office wherein employees chat around about topics not related to their work, and are actually searching for their next job online. This takes away roughly another hour from the typical workday.

Shorter workweek

Keeping this in mind, a number of companies today are experimenting with something even more radical — a shorter workweek with fewer hours to boost productivity levels.

In this scenario, working hours are cut down radically, with employees generally not spending anything more than 32 hours a week in the office. The results look promising.

For example, a study in Sweden revealed nursing staff members who worked 30 hours a week had a 50 percent spike in attendance compared to nurses working the traditional 40-hour week. They also had more than a 60 percent spike in productivity and were 20 percent happier as well.

The question of whether this reduced work-hour week could be applied universally across industrial sectors is obviously going to be something up for serious debate. However, there are definitely techniques that you can apply to spike up your efficiency by spending less time at work. You can definitely experiment with this if you have the privilege of setting your own hours.

Set the numbers — Have an outline of what your working week should be like. You could go for a 6-hour, 3-day workweek or a 5-day week where you work for 4 hours a day. Set up something that you feel could be worked out, and stick to it.

Have an outline of what your workweek should be like.
Have an outline of what your workweek should be like. (Image: via Pixabay)

Batch it up — If there’s a daily task that you can bunch up and execute in a single day, go for it. Similarly, if there are tasks that you perform intermittently between tasks such as calling up customers or checking on your email, assign a specific time frame to complete them all at once. This saves you time and spikes up efficiency.

Free time — Decide ahead what to do with the free time you gain by cutting down on your workweek. This is totally up to you. You can make it productive by working on a personal project that you’ve been keeping off like a hobby or sports or writing. You could also spend more time with the family, and help children with their projects. Segment this free time as well within your workweek so you are achieving your true potential.

Not many people have the flexibility to choose their own hours or select their projects. However, by starting a conversation with the people who have control over this, you can definitely get the ball rolling and try this out.

Follow us on TwitterFacebook, or Pinterest

Recommended Stories

Atrail through the woods in the fall.

As Our Planet Gets Greener, Plants Are Slowing Global Warming

An international team of researchers says findings reveal a daunting outlook for our changing climate. ...

The black plague.

The Great Plague Was a Prelude to a New Dynasty

A disease not only plays a role in the fate of an individual, but it ...

ITGC researchers retrieve the robotic submarine Icefin.

First-Ever Images at Foundation of Notorious Antarctic Glacier

During an unprecedented scientific campaign on an Antarctic glacier notorious for contributions to sea level, ...

The Thwaites Glacier.

Understanding How Quickly Massive Antarctic Glaciers Could Collapse

The collapse of the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica could significantly affect global sea levels. ...

Ballerina Aesha Ash.

The African-American Ballerina Bringing Ballet to the Streets of New York

Aesha Ash is a ballerina from the U.S. For most of her career, she was ...

A surveillance camera.

What Happens When a Communist Surveillance System Is Exported?

The Chinese government has installed over 200 million cameras throughout the country, making it the ...

Facial recognition equipment.

China Wants to Strengthen Xinjiang Surveillance Through World Bank Money

An exclusive scoop by the news website Axios claims that the Chinese government sought to ...

A reusable water bottle.

6 Eco-Friendly Ideas to Implement in 2020

As our needs grow and resources become more scarce, we need to pay attention to ...

A large container of laundry detergent.

Just Gone Viral: An Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent Recipe

Laundry detergents often contain chemicals that can be harmful to you and your family. Why ...

Send this to a friend