How Many Hours Should People Work? Some Good Takeaways

As the workplace continues to evolve, some question about how many hours are needed for work input. Depending on what type of job you have, you may not need to work a lot of hours. So that questions whether a full eight-hour workday is really needed. So how many hours should people work? Maybe it’s much less than needed. That question is what will be addressed in this article.

How many hours do people work on average?

On average, people usually work a typical 40 hour workweek (or eight hours a day). Although the real number of hours may be fewer if you look at only productive time. 

Many years ago, the eight-hour workday was a well-known concept that became part of a common labor movement. I won’t go over the complete history, but the concept and meaning is still applied in the modern workplace.

One of the most successful experiments was when Henry Ford did this for his car company (Ford Motor Company). It was a successful outcome, which led to higher wages and a boost in productivity. That story is brought up a lot when validating the so-called eight-hour workday.

How many hours should people work: Ford Motor company tried out the eight hour day experiment, and it was successful.

However, times have changed since then. Apparently, we still follow an antiquated system where this work schedule might still work to a degree. 

The eight-hour workday is no longer needed for some jobs. People can work fewer hours now, while still being productive and performing their best. 

For the remainder of this post, I will go over what other people believe the hours are. Along with that, I will discuss what I think should be the real number of hours.

What people are saying about work hours

Some people I know follow the standard work schedule. If that means working 40 hours a week, then that’s what they adhere to based on their jobs.

People in this work category may work between 32-40 hours per week. That can vary depending on whether they work part-time or full-time schedules.

For those who work flexible schedules, they may work between 10-25 hours on a weekly basis. These jobs are considered to be part of the gig economy; therefore, the hours can vary depending on the work they perform.

Generally, a lot of people work under 50 hours (if you count overtime). While some people work over 50 hours, that’s a different category to look at if more hours are included in the schedule.

How many hours should people work: People usually work the typical 40 hour workweek, although there are some exceptions.

What do I think the number of work hours should be?

If I wanted to be fair about it, I say six hours a day at the most would be reasonable. Now that’s far less than the traditional workday (eight hours), but that might be a better outcome.

The weekly average may be under 35 hours then (if it’s an average of six hours a day). After six hours of work are put in, productivity starts to decline little by little. More so, there’s a little decline in performance.

My own experience

When I worked in other jobs, I remembered feeling fatigued and daydreamed after working a certain number of hours. I recalled it usually happened between the five-six hour mark.

So I know how that feels, and I think a lot of people may feel the same way as well. So it’s another reason why we should work fewer hours than what we’ve been accustomed to.

If five-six hours become the new standard hours, that may bring a boost in productivity and result in better health outcomes. If that did happen, it would be interesting to see how people behave differently in the modern workplace.

Will the standard hours change?

Unfortunately, it’s likely not going to change because of continuing to fall for the status quo as usual. You also have to factor in pay rates and the number of hours worked. If hours are reduced, would the hourly rate have to go up to make the same pay?

Those are some things to keep in mind; however, some workplaces have adopted flexible work schedules. The companies moving in this direction may be willing to adapt to a changing work environment.

How many hours should people work: A lot of companies are moving toward flexible working hours today, which may work out better.

For example, four-day workweeks are common for some jobs. Or a lot of companies have moved to a hybrid work model; some days working at home, while some days are at the office. 

The hybrid work model is something I’m in favor of, which continues to grow in popularity. Who knows? It may be the new norm or standard for the modern workplace.

Final Words

So how many hours need to be considered for working? It all depends on the type of job you have, especially if it doesn’t take up an entire eight-hour day.

I believe the number of work hours should be reduced. For most jobs, they can be done in less than the normal eight hours.

But if it had to come down to a specific number, I say roughly between 5-6 hours a day. On a weekly basis, that’s between 20-32 hours a week. If I had to choose a number for every week, I’d go with 25 hours a week at the top.

Top three priorities at work: This post will go over how many hours people are working, and what the actual number is for labor.

Those are my thoughts. That answer differs based on other people’s experience, and what kind of work they perform regularly.

Whatever happens down the road, all I can hope is it’ll be for the better. If that means fewer hours (which brings higher productivity and better health outcomes), then that’s a benefit.

Your Turn: How many hours do you think you should work?

I would like to get your thoughts on this topic. How many hours do you think people should work? 

Should it be the same? Or should it be much more, or even less as I suggested?

Do you believe the standard eight-hour day is past its time? Does something need to change for the modern workplace to operate better?

Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. I look forward to reading your responses, and I’ll gladly respond promptly.

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Eric is the owner and chief editor of 

He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. 

Eric is a firm believer in financial and time freedom, as he believes in financial independence and taking ownership of your time. 

“Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” 

In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. 

You can also connect with Eric via LinkedIn.

Self Photo 2019: Here's a picture at a building in downtown Chicago.

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