The 40-hour workweek started back in the early 1900’s by Henry Ford and then in 1940 became an American Law.  Something doesn’t seem right about this work model that Americans still strictly follow in society today because it is extremely outdated. It was originally established for factory workers and this is no longer the case in the digital business world. It is expected for every working adult to work long hours and take on heavy workloads and put their personal needs and well-being aside when it comes to being successful in the professional world, and this is an unacceptable expectation employee’s face daily.

65% of American employees claim that their stress is a problem at work and working 40 or more hours a week results in a negative association with life satisfaction and work-life balance. Fortunately companies are acknowledging the negative consequences of overworking their employees, it results in low work quality and underperformances. Companies globally are adapting to less than 40-hours a week without compromising employee’s pay. The average number of hours worked annually by workers in the United States has increased over the past decades and surpasses most countries. The importance of getting rid of the outdated 40-hour work week is necessary for the twenty-first century.

Global Companies That Are Making The Change 

Pledged to deactivate emails on their employees work devices during non-office hours to combat employee burnout. Numerous studies have shown that psychological detachment from work during non-work time is important for employee health.

Created a program where employee’s emotional well-being is put first by installing recharging spaces in offices where people can take a 30 minute or so break throughout the day. Allowing employees to relax reduces burnout syndrome and gives employees a mental break.

Experimented with a four-day workweek in Japan and had positive results that reported a 40% increase in productivity and they want to enforce this new  policy globally.

The New York Stock Trader and Broker
Instituted a “no-hour work week”, their work policy is that employees can set their own schedules, work from home or at the office, and take as much vacation as they see fit. They are results driven rather than clock driven and with 85 workers they make sure no one abuses the system and encourages naps.

Tree House
Andrew Chokley, the CEO of Treehouse, implemented a 32-hour work week. As a dad he realized his work-life balance was becoming very hard to manage, so he decided to create a work week not only for his family, but for the families of all his employees as well.

Implementing a new hybrid working model which will enable employees to work two days per week remotely for a more sustainable and flexible approach. This will reduce work-related stress and allow a more life-work balance for employees.

Countries around the world have been implementing new work week hour models in the past few years. In Finland, the prime minister elected a four-day work week or a six-hour day to be more productive. Sweden has had success and tried a six-hour workday and found that productivity improved. Recent trials of a shorter working week in Iceland have been overwhelmingly successful and now 86% of Icelandic trade unions require only 35-36 hours per week.

Why Is It Important To Get Rid Of The 40-hour Work Week?         

The importance of getting rid of the outdated 40-hour work week is necessary because work-related stress is taking over employee’s lives unnecessarily and does not benefit companies in any way. The future of our environment is also at risk and having the option for people to work from home or a hybrid model can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions immensely. The positive outcomes of experimenting with innovative hours and new work policies have proven that people can still get their jobs done and produce better quality work when they are not burned out and overworked. There may be a long road ahead for every company to transition to less than 40-hours a week, but it is very doable in today’s modern society. The perfect work-life balance allows employees to put their well-being first and work second. Flexibility and full benefits can be the key to creating a healthier and happier society and the time is now to transition into the twenty-first way of living.