Benefits of reduced working hours
31 October 2012
In recent years, the line between work and leisure has become vague and even be erased. Fortunately, this has been noticed and the trend of reduced working hours has become significant especially in developed counties. This report informs the effects of reduced working hours for people’s health by gathering data and information from other relevant researches. The result shows that shorter working hours has positive impacts on individual’s health. As a consequence, reducing working hours can possibly benefit people’s health.
An advertising company is confronted with a problem that their workers’ health has been affecting by the culture of long time working hours. Therefore, they attempt to hire more part time workers and less full time workers. This report will provide effects of reduced working hours based on some data that from some previous researches in order to find out the benefits of short working hours. Moreover, it will give some recommendations how the company’s project can be implemented.
Decreasing working hours can affect both physical health and mental health.
In the physical aspect, according to Ruhm(2005)’s research which discusses the effect of reduced working hours in United States, reducing one working hour can result in 0.011 % decline of smokers, 0.017 % decrease of obese people, 0.036 % decline in physical inactivity and 0.044 % reduction in other health risks.
Moreover, Berniell(2012) did a research about the consequence of a working hour limitation law, Aubry Law, in France. This research compares the difference of people’s health in France between before and after enforced Aubry Law. In view of experiments he did, after Aubry Law has been enacted, the average reduction in
working hours in France is 3.5 hours and it results in 4.3 % decrease in smoking. Furthermore, the decline of alcohol consumption also stems from the limited working hours. In addition, the reducing one hour work can lead to 2.2 % increase of people’s exercising time and decrease of average Body Mass Index (BMI) by 0.23
In the effect of mental, as Craaf (2010) argues, the happiest countries in the world all have work-life balance lifestyle, such as Denmark, Finland, Netherlands and Sweden. Table 1 is based on the research that Harvard business school did between 2005 and 2009 which analysed the life satisfaction in 155 countries. It can be seen from the table that the happiest country in the world is Denmark, the second happiest is Finland and the third one is Norway. Table 2 shows the Data from OECD which informs the percentage of long working hour employees in each country. In terms of the tale, 1.92 % of people in Denmark work more than 50 hours per week in Denmark and the rank of it is 4th of the world. There are 3.66 % of people in Finland work more than 50 hours per week Finland has and it is 8th of the world. 2.66 % of people who work more than 50 hours per week in Norway and it is 5th.
Table 1: Rank of the world’s happiest countries
Name of countries
Table 2: The percentage of people who work more than 50 hours per week & Rank of work-life balance
Name of countries
The percentage of people who work more than 50 hours per week
Reducing working hours has many positive impacts on not only physical health but also mental health. In terms of physical, lower working hours can enhance individual’s health. Possibility of smoking and drinking among people may decrease due to the reduction in working hours. Furthermore, obesity population and individual’s BMI will reduce because of reduced working hours. In the aspect of mental health, shorter working hours can make...
References: Forbes 2010, Forbes, Viewed 19 October 2012, http://www.forbes.com/2010/07/14/world-happiest-countries-lifestyle-realestate-gallu p-table.html
Graaf, JD 2010, “Reducing Work Time as a Path to Sustainability, The Worldwatch Institute”, Viewed 19 October 2012, http://blogs.worldwatch.org/transformingcultures/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/Reduci ng-World-Time-as-a-Path-to-Sustainability-de-Graaf.pdf
Ines Berniell, M 2012, “The Effects of Working Hours on Health Status and Health Behaviors”, CEMFI – UIMP, Viewed 19 October 2012, http://www.iza.org/conference_files/SUMS2012/berniell_m7629.pdf
OECD 2011, OECD, Viewed 19 October 2012, http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/topics/work-life-balance/
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