Working fewer hours won’t make you happier, says study

Doing fewer hours at work doesn't improve life satisfaction. (pic: istockphoto.com/hjalmeida)

Doing fewer hours at work may not improve life satisfaction. (pic: istockphoto.com/hjalmeida)

The opportunity to work fewer hours may be on many people’s wishlists but, in reality, working less does not lead to increased life satisfaction. A 10-year study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies of workers in South Korea found that, while people were satisfied with a shorter working week ( a reduction of 10%), their levels of happiness in their lives overall did not increase.

One of the reasons for this outcome is that, even though workers put in fewer hours, their workload was not similarly reduced. In other words, they had to do the same amount of work in a tighter timeframe. However, one could conclude from the research that people’s wellbeing is not necessarily linked to the number of hours they work – and long hours may not be detrimental to some.

One particularly interesting finding from the study, however, was the different uses to which men and women put their new spare time. Men used it for leisure and hobbies. Women used it to catch up on their household duties.

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