Study: Shorter Work Weeks Are Better

A five-year study of workers reveals the relationship between the amount of time spent working, productivity and happiness.

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2 min read

In a study of Icelandic workers conducted by research firms Alda and Autonomy, approximately 2,500 workers were monitored in two separate trials to see how a shorter work week affected their productivity. This group moved from a 40-hour to a 35- or 36-hour workweek (without a reduction in pay) and were employed across a variety of industries. In many cases, those participating in the study worked side-by-side with workers who remained on standard 40-work-week schedules.

The results of the epic two-part study that spanned five years were unequivocal: reduced hours did not negatively impact productivity, and resulted in a myriad of positive outcomes, including reductions in stress and burnout. 

Related: How to Go From Procrastination to Inspiration

"Across both trials, many workers expressed that after starting to work fewer hours they felt better, more energized, and less stressed, resulting in them having more energy for other activities, such as exercise, friends and hobbies," the study's author report. "This then had a positive effect on their work."

Following the trial's success, roughly 86% of Iceland’s entire workforce is working shorter hours or has the choice to reduce their hours. Have you considered reducing your or your staff's workweek?

Related: Experiencing Burnout? Here's How to Fix It.

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