A Shorter Workweek May Not Make Me Happy But I Want It Anyway


Since I’m just back from a short vacation and there’s a three-day-weekend coming up, I feel like a new study about how a shorter workweek doesn’t make you happier is total bullshit. Let me be the judge! Time off feels FANTASTIC.

Nicholas Bakalar’s piece on the “Well” blog of the New York Times cites research published in The Journal of Happiness Studies, something that sounds like a really interesting read. Bakalar writes:

South Korea changed its labor regulations in 2004, reducing the work week to five days a week and 40 hours from the previous six-day, 44-hour week, providing a natural experiment to test whether working fewer hours would increase happiness.
Using data from an annual survey of 5,000 Korean households, Dr. Rudolf analyzed overall job satisfaction and overall satisfaction with life before and after the changes in working hours. Using a five-point scale, ranging from very dissatisfied to very satisfied, he found that for both sexes, a reduction in hours had no effect on job or life satisfaction.

Shut the front door you son of a businessman. What in the Ninth Circle of Hell is wrong with those people? Maybe they should go from five days a week to four days a week? I guarantee their “life satisfaction” meters will jump. Here’s the deal: Saturdays you do all the stuff you can’t do during the week. Sundays you sleep late and veg and watch British teen TV shows. If you also had Friday or Monday off, oh, imagine the places you’d go! Museums, movies, road trips, sailing excursions, lunches in random parts of town. All kinds of things to boost life satisfaction. Seriously, if I had a four-day workweek, I would be scoring SIXES on the five point scale of life. South Korea, you crazy.

It should be noted that Dr. Rudolf, a wise man indeed, agrees with me:

“I am a big fan of flexible working solutions with flex-time, part-time options, etc. In my opinion, higher personal freedom about their work flanked with well-designed performance targets will make workers both happier and more productive.”

Exactly! When I am President slash Queen of the U.S. this will be my platform.


Image by Everett Collection/Shutterstock.

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