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Shorter Work Week

Zoomer Report2020-9-6By: Libby Znaimer

Would a shorter work week make you happier? Maybe not, according to a study in The Journal of Happiness Studies.

South Korea was the perfect place to test this question. It changed its labor laws in 2004, reducing the work week to five days a week and 40 hours from the previous six-day, 44-hour week.

Researchers analysed data from an annual survey of 5,000 households, to measure overall job satisfaction and overall satisfaction with life before and after the changes in working hours. They found putting in fewer hours had no effect on job or life satisfaction, for either men or women.

What does it mean? The researchers say we probably should not still aim to reduce working hours. But offering more flexible solutions like flex-time along with well-defined performance targets would probably make workers happier and more productive.

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