How Many Hours a Week Should People Work?

We asked working professionals and HR leaders how many hours a week they think people should work.

Here is what 10 thought-leaders had to say:


  • The 4-day Workweek
  • 25-30 Hours Per Week
  • Set Reasonable Goals
  • Quality Before Quantity
  • It Depends
  • Working Smarter Should Be Celebrated
  • Base Less of Hours, and More Off KPIs
  • Cutting Back is Good for Your Health
  • Let Go of Hourly Requirements
  • Be Flexible With Employees


The 4-Day Workweek

I believe in the 4-Day Workweek, an idea started by Tim Ferriss. There are advantages to working only 4 days a week. For instance, you save time commuting to and from work an extra day each week. In that time, you’ll notice a jump in productivity since you can accomplish a great deal during the time it takes you to commute. Also, hours for women given childcare responsibilities get increased since they don’t have to pay for childcare an extra day each week when they go to work. Instead of childcare activities on the day normally spent at work, people might become more organized at household management or even spend the day they used to work engaged in civic life. I’m no happiness expert, but it seems that many extracurricular pursuits can be accomplished during the 4-day workweek.

Janice Wald, Mostly Blogging


25-30 Hours Per Week

When I was freelancing services to clients, I could realistically only log about 3-4 hours per day of really good, intensive work. This fits in the upper limit of 4 hours of deep work that it’s estimated an individual can put in of focused work in a given day.
The other hour or two extra that I can do in the afternoon/evening is simple tasks that are more repetitive. Assuming 5-6 hours per day X 5 days per week ends up being around 25-30 hours per week.

Kristine Thorndyke, Test Prep Nerds


Set Reasonable Goals

While I don’t believe in setting work hour limits, it is important to realize that there is a breaking point. If you work more than 40 hours a week and do not take time off, there will be some negative effects on your productivity.

The best approach is to set reasonable goals and expectations for yourself. Be honest with yourself about how many hours you can really devote to your job each week and try to stick to it. Also, if you’re working more than 40 hours a week, every once in a while you should take time off. You deserve it!

Ann Young, Fix The Photo


Quality Before Quantity

Numerous pieces of evidence indicate most people are not productive and happy about their job due to long hours at work. For instance, this is the reason behind the decision of the Swedish government – they have decreased workdays to six hours per day and productivity increased! There are many similar examples, however, such a question is strongly individual due to the fact all people function differently, so the correct answer is – quality before quantity. The exact hours do not matter if your team is happy and productive and delivers fulfilling results.

Stefan Chekanov, Brosix


It Depends

The number of hours I work weekly ebbs and flows, but I think it’s more important to measure output and outcomes versus hours spent. Of course, there are expectations that guide our team in ways of working, but it’s important in today’s environment to create some flexibility.

Adam Mitchell, SponsorPulse


Working Smarter Should Be Celebrated

People should work a number of hours that don’t make them feel burned out. As long as the work is getting done, there’s no reason for company leaders or HR to monitor hourly quotas. If company managers aren’t paying attention to that, they’re missing a great opportunity to retain high-quality talent. What they often forget is that people get better at their jobs over time: which means they work smarter and faster. Employees should never be punished for that – that should be seen as a good thing. That’s how employees can grow beyond their current roles.

Ely Khakshouri, Retrospec


Base Less of Hours, and More Off KPIs

By measuring KPIs and other metrics, hours worked becomes less important. It also shifts the focus to what success really looks like in the role. With measurable goals to work towards, people can work to their fullest potential, on their own terms, and succeed.

Annelise Worn, Annelise Worn


Cutting Back is Good for Your Health

Many people are working too many hours and not realizing it – even when they’re feeling sluggish or sleep-deprived. Oftentimes the most obvious reason for those symptoms isn’t realized. People are working too much and they’re not paying enough attention to diet or overall wellness. I was in my 30s when I noticed I had some nagging ailments. I had low energy, brain fog, and sleep deprivation and I wasn’t sure what was causing all of it. It turned out that I was nutrient deficient. I was spending too much time working and not enough time on the simple things – eating properly, adhering to a regular sleep schedule, and spending time with family and friends. Even if you’re not always at an office, you can find yourself working too hard when you’re on your phone reading through emails and performing other job-related tasks at the dinner table. Take time to focus on what’s more important – and work shouldn’t be what’s most important in your life.

Jon Carder, Vessel Health


Let Go of Hourly Requirements

Our society needs to let go of the idea of hourly workweek requirements. How many hours someone works really depends on the person. Some people thrive with hard and fast deadlines, which can mean they get their work done faster than others. That can also breed a culture of chaos when the person can’t stop themself from working more than needed. In general, working in spurts with short breaks proves to be best. If you can manage to do all of your work with six hours per day (30 hours total) there’s no reason why you shouldn’t.

Anne-Marie Faiola, Bramble Berry


Be Flexible With Employees

As the leader of a hybrid workforce that splits their time between working from home and in the office, I have found that it’s extremely important to provide employees with flexible work hours. The exact number of hours worked per week can vary dramatically depending on the nature of the role or industry, however, I suggest that managers should (within reason) provide employees with the ability to choose when they work their allocated hours. In my experience, a 40-hour workweek with the flexibility to dictate scheduling is the ideal environment for employees to thrive and perform.

Each employee will have a different ideal working schedule or environment for productivity, something that can more easily be reached by providing these individuals with the opportunity to tailor their weeks accordingly. This flexibility will also lead to better employee retention and improved work-life balance, two things that are vital for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Teresha Aird,


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