We often miss various opportunities because they are dressed in overalls and looks like work. People who find satisfaction in their job are among the most successful people. Today’s corporate world follows an eight-hour work day. Let’s dive into a brief history and look how the concept of an eight hour-work day started.
The concept of an eight-hour work day goes back 200 years. In the late 18th century people were working 10-16 hours a day because factories needed to run 24/7.
In 1817, manufacturer Robert Owen started advocating for shorter working days. He came up with an idea of “eight hours work, eight hours recreation, eight hours sleep” which divides the day into three equal parts.
The eight-hour working day didn’t become standard until nearly a century later in 1914. At this time, Ford Motor Company surprised everyone by not only cutting down the working day to eight hours but also simultaneously doubling the wages. This resulted in the prominent increased productivity.
In Canada, the Ontario Factories Act of 1884 was Ontario’s first statute to regulate working hours. The act applied to the manufacturing Industries and set maximum working hours for boys, girls and women at ten hours per day. In 1944, Ontario’s Hours of Work and Vacations with Pay Act set the maximum hours of work to eight hours per day and 48 per week in certain industrial undertakings.
Evolution is our basic instinct as Humans. The concept of an eight-hour work day hearkens back to 19th century. So much has changed since then. The nature of work itself evolved in large part from algorithmic tasks to the heuristic that requires problem solving, critical thinking and creativity.
Heuristic work requires people to get into the psychological state of flow, coined by American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Flow refers to the state of full immersion in an activity.
Nowadays, flexible working hours are becoming important to workplaces and many organizations allows flexible hours to promote the work-life balance. Flexible schedules allows employees to work hours that differ from normal organization’s start and stop time. Employees are required to complete the working hours in flexible schedules and thus providing the employee more control and flexibility.
Below are the six most commonly used flexible work schedules.
- Completely Flexible Schedule.
- Alternative Schedule.
- Compressed Work Week.
- Results-Only Work Environment.
- Split Shift.
- Flex Time.
Flexible work schedules boosts employee morale as it gives him an increased feeling of personal control over schedule and work environment. It helps in reducing employee’s turnover, tardiness and absenteeism. Flexible schedules enhances the company image as family-friendly place to work.
An eight-hour work day has some pros and cons, which are listed below.
- Promotes and maintains work-life balance.
- Is an international standard and employer pays for overtime.
- Gives structure to the day and job.
- Allows for continuous productivity throughout the workday.
- Eight hour work day confuses busy and productive.
- Peak productivity is different for everyone.
- Quality of time matters more than quantity.
- Recent studies shows that humans cannot be productive for full eight hours.
Latest research shows that a human brain is able to focus on a task for up to two hours. After that it needs 10-15 minutes break. Managers and employees can divide the daily work into small tasks and milestones which can be completed within 1-2 hours. This will result in increased focus and productivity during an eight-hour shift. As peak productivity is different for everyone so employees can schedule heuristic tasks in their peak productive hours. Grunt and repetitive work can be scheduled into less productive hours. An eight-hour work day can be more productive by properly managing the work and breaks.
Hard work is eventually the key to success. Consistent hard work ultimately leads to sustainable success and greatness. Whether one likes an eight-hour work schedule or not but it’s hard to deny the importance of consistent hard work.