Why the 30-Hour Week is great for your (Work) Life

If you decided to give this article a try, then I probably don’t have to convince you anymore that more free time is a good thing 😉  But I would like to give you my personal experience of the 30-hour work week, as well as some studies.

On the one hand everyone has to find out for himself, if he is more productive, creative and happy with a 30-hour week. I can tell you from my experience and many conversations that I had with people having a 6-hour workday, that it’s just amazing when you know in the morning at work: „Ok, I will focus now for 6 hours. It will be intense, but I can also go home then, recharge my batteries, and spend the rest of the day doing things I love, and come back to work tomorrow balanced and refreshed“. And just to make it more clear: It’s a huge difference if you know in the morning that you work for example from 9am to 3 pm, instead of working from 9am to 6pm. It’s a 3 hour difference! Since you don’t need to have the lunch break. And maybe you also know from experience, that the hours in the morning are always the most productive, and the last two hours the least productive and draining.

That said, I chose a 4 day week with my last employer, since I was in a long-distance relationship, so me and my partner were able to spend a 3-day weekend together, which is great too! So, now we come to the „objective“ data part. I put objective in „…“ since every data point is also just a limited window into reality, especially as long we can’t depict the human brain in 1s and 0s (yet!).

The Auckland University of Technology made a scientific study in collaboration with Perpetual Guardian, a real estate finance company, which introduced the 4-day week. Productivity increased by 25%, stress level of employees decreased by 15%, and work life balance increased by 45%.

The work psychologist K. Anders Ericsson argues that experts can only achieve 4 – 5 hours of highly focused cognitive work, so the last 3 – 4 hours of work are not very productive. If one has to sit in office for longer than 5 hours, then probably bad habits develop already in the early hours of work.

A British study found out that most office workers are only really productive during 3 hours of work. The rest of the time is spent surfing on news websites, social media, talking with colleagues and so on.

The Online Agency eMagnetix introduced the 30-hour week with full salary, and reports tremendous results for work life balance and so on. The Tech-Education platform Treehouse introduced the 32 hour work week and reports more productive and happier employees. There are also many companies that report of happier employees. Here a link to a ZEIT article, and another one, and another one of t3n. And Sweden also is progressive in this regard. 

And also the big players are moving into that direction: Microsoft Japan tested the 4-day week, and productivity increased by 40%. And Amazon is testing the 30-hour week as well.

So what data should you evaluate more now, in deciding if the 30 hour week is something for you. The anecdotal data or the „objective“ data? It’s up to you. But if I am allowed to give you my opinion: Think about it with your analytical mind first, look at the result. Then let your subconscious run this data through your brain again (that works while not actively thinking about it, like sleeping; the subconscious weights the factors differently than your rational mind, and maybe takes some factors into consideration that you are not aware of). Now look at the result, which could be called your feeling. So basically, trust your rational mind AND your feeling 🙂


Philipp Köbler