The Way We Work

Watch: The Ideal Workweek, According to Science

Many of history's greatest minds worked less than four hours per day–and so should the rest of us

33 sec read

The 40-hour-plus workweek isn’t just bad for productivity–it’s actively dangerous for your health. Researchers have studied the working schedules of great artists, philosophers, and thinkers, and found that many were at their best when working as little as four hours per day. This might seem counterintuitive, or even indulgent, but the science makes a powerful argument: we should all be working less.

Illustration and animation by Eden Brackenbury
Words by
Simon Parkin
Sound effects from and “Media Arts of Hollywood
Hums and whistles by Kit Wharton

For more on what the ideal workweek should look like, read Simon Parkin’s piece on the subject.

Way We Work logo depicting hands holding tools

How We Get To Next was a magazine that explored the future of science, technology, and culture from 2014 to 2019. This article is part of our The Way We Work section, which looks at new developments in employment and labor. Supported by Pearson. Click the logo to read more.