How many hours should you work per week? Should it be 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, or 60? This question has been talked about a lot in recent years.
Should you have a three-day workweek, or does a 5-day workweek work fine for you? How many work hours do you prefer in a day?
Another related question is whether it is better to work from office or work from home!
I know these questions may not matter for some people, especially for those who are workaholics or the Type A personalities.
Such people are always hungry for more work and they would keep working from wherever they are located and whenever they can!
Some people who probably have less liabilities may want to work less, whereas those who need to earn more might work even for extra hours.
It eventually comes to what makes you content and happy. Since the concept of happiness is different for everyone, the choice of work hours in a day would vary from person to person.
However, seriously, the amount of hours that you spend on your work and its timings affects your life and your productivity too.
If you’re going to work non-stop without a break or regularly extend it into the nights, you may have difficulty dealing with the work stress, suffer from weariness of your mind and body, and not be able to give full time to your family or loved ones.
So, how do you decide what is right for you?
Here’s what you need to do. First review the terms that you use, see what’s going around in the world, what are the things that people suggest, and choose the work schedule that works best for you.
What are Work Hours
Work hours are the business hours, which are the hours of the day that you spend in doing work or business.
Basically, work hours are used in an organization so that not only the organizational or business work gets done, but the worker also gets to balance their responsibilities at work and home, and are able to strike a balance between work and life.
So, setting the work hours in a day is all about creating the right work-life balance, right? And why not, as it is really very important.
To facilitate the work-life balance, organizations and countries have working time regulations that decide the working hours for a worker in a day.
Generally, nowadays most organizations and countries follow an 8-hour workday schedule, or a 9 to 5 job.
If you view this Wikipedia article, you’ll come to know that the working hours and work timings vary in countries across the world, and these change as per the geographic conditions of the place and the religious requirements.
Flexible Work Hours
However, the work hours, instead of being fixed, can be flexible to facilitate the work-life balance in a better way.
Well, even if you’re self-employed, it helps if you define your working hours.
Most of those who work from home follow flexible work hours. They do not have a fixed working time, unless they enforce one on themselves.
It’s a lifestyle choice made by employees too. Many companies allow their workers to opt for flexible hours for either working in the company office or from their own homes.
One good thing that work-from-home does is lessens the employee’s commute time and trouble. Of course, how can you forget this factor when there are people who spend up to 3-4 hours commuting only!
This news story tells you about a study that shows employees working at flexible hours are generally happier.
Now that you know what work hours are, how many hours would you work per week?
MUST READ: How To Lead A Good Life And Be Happy
What is a Workweek
Simple. A workweek is the total number of hours or days regularly worked in a week.
There are seven days in a week, but you generally work for 5 or 6 days per week. Actually, there used to be 6-day workweek until the early 20th century, when America started the trend of 5-day workweek.
Some companies and countries around the world still follow the 6-day workweek.
5-day workweek was started to cater to the Jewish and Christian workers. They wanted holidays on Saturday and Sunday respectively, for Sabbath, the day for rest and worship.
Muslims have their rest day on Friday, and most Muslim countries have weekends on Thursday-Friday or Friday-Saturday, as per the recent change to go with the rest of the world.
If you work for 8 hours a day and follow a 5-day workweek, then you work for 40 work week hours. In case you have a 6-day workweek, it becomes 48 work hours in a week.
Of course, the workers have a choice to work extra and the other sectors can have their own specific work time regulations.
Less Work Days And Work Hours Per Week
Up until the 20th century, companies and industries lured people into working for more hours. The temptation was that they would earn more money and be able to buy more commodities.
The possession of commodities and money was linked to achieving happiness in life.
Therefore, people preferred to work more, but eventually had little time for their families or even for their own selves.
The concept of personal development was based on only one criterion – professional development. Isn’t this what most people still try to follow?
Most people are still clueless what really brings happiness into their life. Money and commodities are not the only factors, obviously.
It is important that you spend quality time with your family and have time for working towards your personal growth.
Unless you learn to understand yourself, be content, and control your mind, you cannot achieve real and long-term happiness.
A simplistic lifestyle and a minimalistic approach to life will certainly help you bring more happiness to your life.
Today, there is a gradual decrease in the number of average working hours per week, mostly in the developed countries.
The average hours worked in a week is 33 in the U.S., 30 in France, 27 in Netherlands, and 25.6 in Germany.
The factors that facilitated the lowering of average working hours and raised the standard of living are:
- Increased use of technology at work
- Increase participation of women as income earners in the family
- Lesser number of children, so fewer hours are needed to support children
- More paid leave days
You can earn more if you and your spouse, both earn and work at flexible hours or work from home. In this way, you save more while working for less hours and are more with the family to gain more happiness.
If you work for lesser days per week, you eventually save the world from more problems.
There will be lower rate of unemployment, lower carbon emissions, higher levels of well-being, and lower conflicts because of more quality time for family and self.
But it’s sad that some people need to work more, else they don’t earn enough and can’t support their families.
A 4-day workweek is being followed in various states of America. Many schools extend their daily timings and government offices adopt the 10-work-hour day from Monday to Thursday, so as to remain off for a 3-day long weekend, including Friday.
This way, they not only save on the trouble of commuting and enjoy an extra holiday, but also save on the costs of electricity and gasoline.
Some of the world’s top business leaders like Carlos Slim and Richard Branson have come up with a 3-day workweek model.
In this model, employees can work for 11 hours a day for three days and then have a four-day long weekend!
Would you be more productive and happier if you worked for only three days a week?
Well, this model may not be practical at many places and in many countries.
But if I were a salaried employee and got an offer from an organization with this work week hour model, I’ll just go for it!
In the end, what a company eventually wants is better productivity in terms of quality and speed. Of course, this is directly proportional to the employee’s productivity.
And, employees will be more productive when they are happier. Some would say employees are more productive when they’re pressurized and controlled. What do you say?
The 4-Hour Workweek And 2-Hour Workday
Lastly, how can we not include the 2007 bestseller self-help book by Timothy Ferriss, “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich.”
In his book, Tim emphasizes on lifestyle development by applying the Pareto principle or the 80-20 rule and company automation.
He promotes telecommuting and outsourcing of work to free up personal time.
Though this book inspired many entrepreneurs, but one entrepreneur and blogger launched his own course called “The 2-Hour Workday” to achieve a laptop lifestyle and freedom in life.
He is Yaro Starak and you can read more about his course in his interview on Aha!NOW.
How Many Hours Should You Work Per Week
Here I’m wrapping up this post by asking you this question.
What is your sweet spot for the work week hours? How much work is really good enough for you to lead a happy life?
I’d echo what most people recommend: at the most a 40-hour workweek, or working for 8 hours a day for 5 days a week for a good work-life balance.
Do you want to work harder or smarter? Remember that you may work for fewer hours but earn even more if you make smart work choices and adopt the right methods or the right lifestyle.
Read this post, where Chris demonstrates using interesting illustrations that if you work for 35 hours a week, you can be most productive.
Anything above 40 work week hours will not help much if you’re a family person and consider happiness to be an all-round concept, rather than just depending on money or your income. This post attests the suggestion.
It’s not about how much you can work, it’s about how many hours you should put in to your work. Of course, you can slog for 60+ hours a week, but you should not.
I know you would say some people have to because they have no other option. Even then, such a practice can’t work for long and becomes counterproductive after sometime.
It’s wise to try to lessen your expenses, than to reduce your happiness by working for extra long hours.
I’ve special concern for bloggers, Internet marketers, and all those who work-from-home, because I’m one of them.
Most of us tend to cross the limit and work endlessly to be successful and earn more money.
We all need to really think and define how many hours we need to work per day and per week. We need to make sure that we give enough time to our family, our health, and for our personal growth.
This is because your aim of life is not to have bounty full of money, but boundless happiness.
Share Your Thoughts:
What are your work hours per day? How many days per week do you work? Have you given flexible work hours and work-from-home a chance? What was your experience and result? Do you believe less work can eventually bring you more happiness?
Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos
Posted on: August 25th, 2014
Last Updated on: August 26th, 2014