Whose day is it anyway – why do we work from 9 to 5?

Have you ever wondered why we’re generally expected to work from nine-to-five each day, or maybe some eight-to-four or ten-to-six derivative of this eight-hour shift? Then read on…

Why do we work an eight-hour day?

The traditional eight-hour work day first came to prominence back in the early nineteenth century as a response to poor factory working conditions during the Industrial Revolution.

It took until 1926 for it to really catch on across the globe, when Henry Ford set an eight-hour workday to boost both productivity and profits.

It seems slightly absurd, given how time and technology has moved on then, that the modern workforce still works to this rigid schedule in one form or another.

This infographic from Podio, project management software providers, has all you need to know about the eight-hour workday…(blog continues below)


Why do we work from 9 to 5? Uncover the origins of the standard workday and get tips to be more productive and efficient at work.
Click image to see the interactive version (via Podio).

How to make the most of your eight-hour day

Although more of us than ever are offered the benefits of flexible working, the eight-hour day is still at the core of the working week – so if you struggle through the nine-to-five, here are some ways to make the most of your eight hours…

Split up your day

Getting in at nine and knowing you’re stuck in the office until five can be pretty daunting and depressing, specially in winter time, and so it can be beneficial to break the day down into 90-minute segments, and filling each with a specific task to be done – if you don’t finish the task in the allotted time, move on to the next one and schedule more time in tomorrow.

Plan how and when you take breaks

Everyone knows that taking regular breaks is important for both productivity and well-being, but not everyone appreciates the importance of what you do in those breaks.

So schedule in breaks around your 90-minute work segments, and pencil in exactly what you’ll be doing in those breaks – and remember, if you work at a computer all day, then sitting at your desk and doing some online shopping isn’t really taking a break, so get up and away from your desk and screen and do something completely different, even if it’s juts sitting somewhere else and reading a book.

Block out the distractions

There are a million-and-one things out there to take our minds off our work, especially if we work from home, so make sure you turn your phone to silent (or completely off, if possible) and swerve the social media and Skype conversations – you’ll be surprised just how much more work you get through.

What are your top tips to improve the working day or make it more productive? Let us know in the comments section below…

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