Studies show a four day work week boosts productivity and keeps workers happier : The Indicator from Planet Money Doing more by working less sounds like an oxymoron, but a slew of recent studies show that switching to a four-day workweek is linked with greater health, happiness and productivity for workers.

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Test driving a four-day work week

Test driving a four-day work week

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Graham Denholm/Getty Images
Dolly Parton performs on stage at Rod Laver Arena on February 11, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)
Graham Denholm/Getty Images

Ahh, the 9 to 5. Working for five days a week is a given for most employees. And, of course, Dolly Parton. In reality, though, the five-day workweek has only been around for just over a century. And as the effects of the pandemic continue to reshape how work happens, a slew of studies have shown that transitioning to a four-day workweek can lead to significant increases in the health, happiness and productivity of workers.

Could working fewer hours be the key to unlocking workers' potential? And what will it take to convince employers that shortening the workweek will help, not hurt, their business? We talk to workplace advocates and look at recent studies on the issue.

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For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.