How Many Hours Do You Work, And How Much Is Too Much?

Danish professor James W. Vaupel says that we should work more when we are old, and we should work just 25 hours a week when we are young. How many hours a week do you put in, and how far is that from what you think is ideal?

Picture: Horia Varlan/Flickr

Vaupel explains his reasoning:

"We're getting older and older here in Denmark. Kids who are 10 years old today should be able to work until the age of 80. In return, they won't need to work more than 25 hours per week when they become adults," says Professor James W. Vaupel, who heads a new research centre at the University of Southern Denmark, which opened earlier this week.

"In socio-economic terms it makes a lot of sense. The important thing is that we all put in a certain amount of work — not at what point in our lives we do it. In the 20th century we had a redistribution of wealth. I believe that in this century, the great redistribution will be in terms of working hours."

While 25 hours may seem crazy by today's standards, there is logic to Vaupel's argument. Research shows that elderly people who work part-time are healthier than those who don't work, meaning that work in later life could actually be beneficial. Plus, it gives you more time to spend with your family when you're young.

How many hours do you work per week now? What do you think is your ideal workload? Do you agree with the 25-hour work week? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

We should only work 25 hours a week, argues professor [ScienceNordic via Hacker News]


    I've been working 40 hours a week over breaks and doing about 30 hours going to uni on top of that while it's on, not going to pretend like it's doing wonders for my mental health haha, I'd love to do about 25 hours a week year round.

    Yeah 40+ hrs a week here too. Workload is far less than that but it's a stupid
    company rule. I opted for maybe a 'work from home' deal on those days where workload
    is not heavy but my superiors are not having it. :/

      ah yes, the ol' 'bums on seats' philosophy. A waste of time and money for everyone involved. Something I am unfortunately involved in (though less than I was)

    At month end I work 60-70 hours a week but normally I'm at 30-35 hours including about 10 hours of telecommuting

    96 hours + commute per fortnight, 8 12 hour days then 6 days off. It can be difficult, but you can get a lot done on 6 days off.

    I'm 22 and I work 30 hrs a week in my day job, then between 10-40 hrs volunteer/amateur work per week in performing arts after hours (rehearsals and performance). Last year I was also squeezing in around 6 hrs of part time uni contact time as well, plus assessment done in my "free time".

    It's busy, but I find it a nice balance.

    27yo working 168 hour fortnight then I get a week off

    Last week I worked.... Monday through Friday 5pm to 9am and on top Friday 5pm to Monday 9am... so that's 162 hours.

    This week is a little lighter... Thursday 5-9, Friday 5pm to Monday 5pm -- 96 hours... but then next week, 40 extra hours.

    What was this article about again? Lightweights complaining 40 hours is hard stuff? BAH!

      What is your proffession? In my industry (engineering) once 12 hours of work is reached we are required by law to not be at work for 8 hours.

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