Wouldn’t it be great to have a three-day weekend every week? Some scientists are finding that we’d actually be more productive, happier, and healthier if we did – read on to learn more!
Recent studies have shown that past a certain point, we’re all less efficient and productive, and by working past that point we risk running ourselves ragged and under-performing.
As a result, more and more companies are adopting shorter work weeks, and employee happiness and productivity is proving to be a major result!
Numerous psychology experiments focusing on work and productivity have found that efficiency peaks at four or five hours of productive work per day. Beyond that point, performance begins to stall and workers begin to suffer. As K Anders Ericsson, an expert in the psychology of work, notes, if you push people beyond the time they can really concentrate maximally, you’re going to get them to acquire some bad habits. Even worse, those bad habits will make their way into the time when they are normally productive.
As a result, Ryan Carson, CEO of Treehouse, instituted a 32 hour work week back in 2006, and ever since his employees have been happier and more productive, all the while his company makes millions of dollars in revenue.
In a similar case, Reusser Design switched to a four-day work week in 2013 and the company founder, Nate Reusser, says his employees’ performance is much higher.
In a survey published in the monthly labor review, twenty-eight percent of respondents stated that they would give up one day worth of pay for one extra day off from work. After all, not only do people prefer having an extra day off but productivity actually suffers the longer you work.
A 2014 paper from Stanford University found results definitely start to slide around the 50-hour per week mark, in that people were producing less, even in more hours of work. In another study, by the Families and Work Institute, people who feel overworked said they make more mistakes at work.
Not only does productivity fall when we are overworked but our health begins to suffer as well. A study of small and medium-sized Japanese businesses found participants who worked ten hours per day and slept only six hours per night reported up to ninety-seven percent greater chance of depression compared to those who worked only six to eight hours a day.
Theorists have often contemplated that our work week would become shorter and shorter the more we became technologically capable. But that appears not to be the case, the standard forty hour work week is the norm in many companies, but is it really contributing to overall productivity? It seems we have a limit to how productive we can be, our attention to detail starts to fail us and mistakes are made. A four-day work week can benefit both our state of minds and our health.