Are you ready for the 4-hour working day?

Words, hubbul

As technology continues to influence the world of work, bold predictions are being made with regards to the number of hours that will one day make up the average working day.

Futurist, James Wallman, and Yell, teamed up to explore the forces impacting new and future ways of working. The report, titled ‘Future Gazers: the next 30 years in business’, has made the case that a 4-hour working day might well be the norm by 2050.

A new wave of technologies including Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and the Internet of Things are expected to dramatically change how we work, and give us the opportunity to work smarter and not necessarily longer. 

The report claims the current 9-5 working day was developed to squeeze as much as possible from workers who performed routine tasks in factories and offices. And despite times changing and the fact that many companies now offer flexible working opportunities, the 8-hour working day remains a staple for the majority of the workforce.

Emerging research suggests that 8-hour days are actually unproductive, with the optimum number of working hours sitting closer to 4. As automation technology plays a bigger role in helping us perform tangible and routine tasks, we'll soon have the opportunity to spend a handful of hours each day on more fulfilling and creative work. 


Such radical changes will also have huge benefits to our health and wellbeing, not to mention give us new opportunities to strike a better worklife balance.

Sarah Slade, entrepreneur and co-owner of SevenSeventeen, a mood-boosting candle brand, believes the growing partnership between workers and robots, nicknamed ‘cobots’, will be huge.

“With the help of cobots, getting the most out of our time should become easier. As business owners, there will undoubtedly always be the unavoidable call at 9pm or having to pop in to the office at the weekend – but ultimately, it's flexibility we see as being the most important game changer in the future of business.”

For freelancers and contractors, the opportunity to focus solely on extracting more from a working day will inevitably spark interest. Weighed down by important but laborious tasks such as managing accounts and sorting and sending invoices, you can only imagine that the independent workforce would be enthusiastic about embracing such change.

Mark Clisby, Product and Marketing Director at Yell, encouraged us all to embrace the new opportunities that come as a result of technological innovation.

“We’re living in a time of incredible change. The next 30 years are set to be very exciting for us all. We look forward to continuing to help business owners and consumers to adapt to changing technologies, both now and in the future.” 

Is a 4-hour working day realistic? Join the conversation…

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