Are we working more than ever? What history tells us:

Matt Corthell |

Work has been something that has changed significantly over time as technology has changed, but has that led us to working more or less?

A graph of a working hours per worker

Description automatically generated

A study provided by Our World in Data posted the data going back to 1870 and there is quite an encouraging trend over the last ~150 years. Working hours have dropped from ~3,000 hours to somewhere between 1,400 and 1,800 hours.

The almost unimaginable part is despite the drop-in hours, the advancements we have seen in society across that time have been massive! Cars, planes, medical, phones, internet and so many more other areas. I had Indian food delivered to my house in 45 minutes with 3 clicks on my phone last week, what a world!

The data unfortunately ends in 2017 and therefore is not updated for post pandemic work from home and advancements in AI. It is clear over the last 4 years, work has become more available in our daily lives as it is done more and more at home. As with most technologies, artificial intelligence has the promise to do more with less meaning it would not shock me to see hours work continue it long standing trend downward despite the availability of work at home. 

If you would like to see more content like this, please feel free to follow us on LinkedIn and thank you for reading!