Thought Leadership

Switch To 5 Hour Work Days To Drive Productivity

The perfect number of working hours is something that has been frequently debated, especially over the past decade of digitalisation. We live in an era of fast living and short attention spans which beg the question— are people more productive when they work longer hours or when they work for shorter periods of time?


The common and seemingly age-old 40-hour workweek was actually popularized in the 1920s by Henry Ford when he became one of the first factory owners to offer his employees an additional day off. A mere 40 years later in the 1980s, working overtime became the norm once again due to the rise of Silicon Valley. Of course, this didn’t come without consequences. According to a joint global study conducted by the World Health Organisation and the International Labour Organization in 2016, long working hours have resulted in 745,000 deaths from stroke and ischemic heart disease.


Longer working hours might seem like it would increase the amount of work performed during the day, but studies have shown that the average office worker works productively for less than 3 hours a day. In order to ensure maximum productivity, it’s important to keep your employees happy and healthy, and with a 5-hour workday, you can do just that!


Back in June 2015, Stephan Aarstol, the CEO and founder of Tower Paddle Boards took a leap and decided to try something unheard of before, a five-hour workday. While the shift was too much to handle for a few employees, a majority of his employees were happier and much more enthusiastic to work. Here are 3 tips to help you efficiently implement a 5-hour workday at your organisation or even for yourself if you work from home.


  1. Realistically Schedule Your Day

Just because you’re at your desk for eight hours doesn’t mean you’re being productive. Even the best employees probably only accomplish two to three hours of actual work. The five-hour day is about managing human energy more efficiently by working in bursts over a shorter period,” says Stephan Aarstol, the CEO of Tower Paddle Boards and author of the book The Five Hour Workday. Planning out your workweek in advance and scheduling different tasks throughout your day in accordance to importance and duration is a sure shot way to improve your productivity.


2. Minimize Distractions

Most employees spend a large chunk of their work hours procrastinating. From mingling with co-workers and taking smoking or coffee breaks or browsing through e-commerce websites and deciding what to order for lunch; employees, be it unintentionally or intentionally, end up wasting so much time each day. By implementing no-phone rules and time management methods such as the Pomodoro Technique, you can reduce unimportant disturbances that hinder an employee’s productivity.


3. Use Technology Efficiently

In order to effectively manage a 5-hour workday, it is important to cut out menial tasks from your employees’ worklist. Streamline your organisation with internal communication and project management softwares such as Slack, Trello and Zoho Project to name a few. One can opt for automated messaging and emailing softwares to reduce customer service work. Using ready-made templates for websites and posters and using the scheduling software for social media posts cuts downtime as well.


The world around us and the landscape of work is constantly changing. Two years ago, who would have believed that nearly half the world would be working from the comfort of their homes? One of the many things that the pandemic taught us is that happiness and health is something that everyone values. So, take a leap and help your employees prosper in their personal lives as well as work with a 5-hour workday!