Working time through the ages

Working time

Wikipedia delivers again, this time with a great overview of working time – from the stone age to today.

A few nuggets from the article:

…early hunter-gatherer societies enjoyed more leisure time than is permitted by capitalist and agrarian societies;[5][6] For instance, one camp of !Kung Bushmen was estimated to work two-and-a-half days per week, at around 6 hours a day.[7] Aggregated comparisons show that on average the working day was less than five hours.[5]

The automobile manufacturer, Henry Ford, was an ardent proponent of shorter work hours, which he introduced unilaterally in his own factories.

Recent studies[9][10] supporting a four-day week have shown that reduced work hours not only increase consumption and invigorate the economy

Because of the pressure of working, time is increasingly viewed as a commodity.[26] This trend, as well as the amount of working time being found to affect gender roles, has been notably researched by Sociology professor Dr. Stephen C. Smith.[27] In 2006, the average man employed full-time worked 8.4 hours per work day, and the average woman employed full-time worked 7.7 hours per work day.[28]

Good stuff. There’s loads more – go read the whole thing.

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8 thoughts on “Working time through the ages”

  1. Now how do we convince employers to pay a living wage for a shorter work week?

  2. Probably the most important issue not only how much time people spend on work but how they spend it. How is that time organized by managers and how good they are in creating tasks, creating time sheets etc.
    In other words if the time is used in effective way, then the duration can differ.
    Sometimes less is really more

  3. As someone with a degree in Recreation, I have learned employees enjoy their work more if they have hobbies and recreation after work hours. But just as important, (especially if the employee has had to relocate to take a job) is a feeling of being part of a community. This can happen at work but also needs to happen outside of a job.
    As a twenty-two time mover(often for jobs) I’ve experienced a lot of changes in my life and have written a book to help people relocate, It’s a forty-day guide called Changing Zip Code: Finding Community Wherever You’re Transplanted. It might help some of your readers adjust to their new address and as a result adjust to their job more readily.

    -Carol G. Stratton

  4. I loved the one job I had where we worked 4 10 hour days instead of 5 8 hour days. Then the company hired an “efficiency consultant” who convinced them to make the change to a 5 day workweek. It didn’t make us more efficient – just ensured that we couldn’t enjoy our 3 day weekends anymore:(


  5. I think our culture has created something of a time-Nazi environment. I don’t think it matters so much how many hours an employee works or where an employee works as long as the work gets done.

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