Think working less might make you happier? Think again. New research suggests a reduction in working hours may in fact add to job-related stress and have a negative impact on feelings of general well-being.
The finding, published online in the Journal of Happiness Studies
, is based on an analysis of the impact of working hours on the overall happiness of individuals, families, and couples living with children.
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Lead researcher Robert Rudolf of Korea University, Seoul, examined the impact of South Korea's recently introduced five-day working policy, which made Saturdays official non-working days and cut the standard work week from 44 to 40 hours. The policy aims to enhance living standards, boost the country's leisure industry and to reduce the negative effects of long working hours, low productivity, and high rates of industrial injury.
Rudolf's analysis is based on detailed surveys of urban Korean households conducted between 1998 and 2008. The results showed working wives and mothers are generally more pleased with the new policy than their male counterparts, but that the cut back in the work week had no significant positive impact on overall job and life satisfaction.
Rudolf suggested the findings indicate the upsides of working fewer hours are often offset by greater work intensity demands set by employers and a reduction in holiday time that many companies imposed as part of the new policy.
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