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Could A Six-Hour Work Day Make You More Productive?

Do you know why most companies are based on a 40-hour work week and do you know the science behind it? No? That’s because there is no science behind it. None.

The 40-hour work week is a hangover from the industrial revolution, which came about because an eight-hour work day means you can split your day into three sections with work, rest and play in equal parts. That’s right, how we work is based on a theory that came about over 200 years ago. So it stands to reason that we are now starting to question the logic.

Many trials

The four-day work week has been the subject of many trials in recent years, with some companies adopting it as standard practice, stating that they see no drop in productivity or profits, but do see a jump in happiness and wellbeing among their workforces. But once the novelty wears off, is it really the best solution, or would shorter work days bring about greater change instead?

UK workers seem to think so, with 46 per cent of office workers stating that a shorter work day would not only make them more productive, but would also encourage them to shift jobs if that were an option being offered by a prospective employer. Especially if the working day came with a flexible start and finish time.

For some, this enables them to manage family commitments, avoid long commutes or tackle other priorities – creating a higher sense of work/life balance. For companies, it means that the business remains open five days a week and, if you opt for flexible start and end times, for longer periods each day.

In his research paper, economic professor at Stanford University John Pencavel found that workers’ productivity plunged when they worked more than 50 hours per week. In fact, he found that those working a 70-hour week were as productive as those who worked a 55-hour week – leading experts to wonder if a condensed work day is the solution.

But what do businesses think? Well, they’re in agreement. For the most part. Toyota has already adopted a four-day work week across its Asian businesses, and companies in Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark currently have the shortest working weeks in Europe, but report high levels of work life balance, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In fact, the Dutch work an average 30.3 hour week.

For many businesses, especially those in the tech sector which encourage remote working, offering flexible working hours without it impacting pay is starting to become standard practice.

And yes, they are hiring. Plenty of companies known for their flexible work policies are hiring across all departments and levels. We’ve selected three below to show the variety but if you want to work smarter not harder, then it’s smart to visit the Fintech Times Job Board.

Starling Bank

A fintech company that has managed to maintain its startup energy, Starling Bank offers workers generous paid holiday days, paid volunteering hours and numerous supports such as cycle to work and an employee assistance programme as well as a flexible approach to work. The company is currently hiring for a number of roles across all departments and levels, including Graduate Software Engineers, Android Engineer and Full Stack Developer. Browse all available roles at Starling Bank.


Fintech giant Monzo is renowned as being one of the best employers across tech, offering generous compensations, healthcare and pension contributions as well as a generous staff stock payment plan. However, its flexible approach to work is what really attracts key tech talent. Monzo is currently hiring for a number of roles across all departments, including an Accounting Analyst, and engineers with experience in Android and IOS. Browse all available roles with Monzo.

FIS Global

The global leader in fintech, any time someone shops online, uses a bank or trades a stock, FIS Global makes it happen. Every day and every second, the company makes it possible to move a third of the world’s money. Typical benefits include always-on learning and development, a collaborative work environment, opportunities to give back and competitive salary and benefits. Senior Project Manager – Professional Services and Data Analyst roles in London. Plus, see all available jobs at FIS Global here.

Browse all available roles on the Fintech Times Jobs Board to find your perfect fit


  • Aisling O'Toole is a journalist who over the past 15 years has edited some of Ireland's leading publications, contributed regularly to TV and radio and occasionally the odd podcast.

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