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How the 9-to-5 came to be and why it no longer makes sense (Infographic)

How did we end up laboring eight hours each day and why should we break that tradition?
By Kim Lachance Shandrow |

office space


Newsflash, boss: The days of the traditional 8-hour work day are numbered. It’s as outdated as the 8-track.


Today, thanks to the blood, sweat and tears of worker’s rights crusaders the world over, the average working stiff logs about 8.7 hours a day on the clock. If you think that’s too long, imagine how rough our ancestors had it during the Industrial Revolution. Back then, workers, often as young as 10 years old, toiled in sweltering factories for up to 16 hours at a time, six days a week. Many across the globe still do and then some.



Related: Does a 6-hour Workday lead to better productivity? Sweden's about to find out.

After all, working long hours, which many of us do voluntarily without interruption (heck, we don’t even take earned vacation time anymore) has been shown to cause fatigue, strain personal relationships and increase mistakes and accidents. And, here’s the kicker, it can ironically also reduce productivity.


No wonder some think dividing the work day into strategic bursts of effort undertaken during your routinely most productive times—as opposed to on an arbitrarily set schedule—is probably a better idea. Even weaving in spells of meditation and mindless doodling into your work patterns can make you a happier and more successful employee or entrepreneur. Draw your own conclusions.


For more on how we ended up laboring for eight hours at a time, and why there’s a movement afoot to shift away from the moth-eaten tradition, please, take a short break (remember those?) and peruse the thought-provoking infographic below. It comes to us care of Podio, a provider of collaboration software for co-workers.



Related: Should you pay employees an hourly wage or a salary?


8-hour work


Copyright 2015 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been done by the editor.


Main photo from Flickr (Aurimas) 

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