The typical work day is approximately 8 hours, but how did we come up with that? The answer is hidden in the birth of the Industrial revolution.
Why Do We Work For 8 Hours?
In the late 18 century companies wanted to maximize equipment usage by running 24/7. Of course that meant people had to work more hours, so 10 to 16 hour workdays became the norm.
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These incredibly long work days weren’t sustainable, though, and soon a brave man named Robert Owen started a campaign to have people work no more than 8 hours per day. His slogan was, “Eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”
In the 1920s however, it was Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, that established the 5-day, 40-hour work week. At Ford’s own admission, however, the five-day workweek was also instituted in order to increase productivity: Though workers’ time on the job had decreased, they were expected to expend more effort while they were there. Manufacturers all over the country, and the world, soon followed Ford’s lead, and the Monday-to-Friday workweek became standard practice.