Would moving to a shorter work week increase productivity? The argument for the rise of the six-hour workday has begun.

Quartz has a look at the argument for moving to a shorter working-day, a move that about a century ago looked like it was on its way up. John Maynard Keynes, an early fan of the six-hour workday, predicted that by 2030 only "extreme workaholics" would be putting in more than 15 hours a week. "It was around the same time," notes Quartz, "that Ford cemented the 40-hour workweek as a labor norm, but in 1930, Kellogg's introduced the six-hour workday, which proved to be immensely popular with staff members and lasted until 1985."


So, what's the argument for moving to a shorter workday? It has a lot to do with how sleep and awareness cycles work:

Your consciousness kicks in almost immediately after waking up, but it can take up to four hours for your mind to crank itself up to full awareness and alertness—and in that time, you won't make good decisions . . . Unlike machines, humans operate on a cyclical basis, which means our energy and motivation fluctuate in peaks and troughs. Cognitive workers tend to be more focused in the late morning, getting another energy boost in the late afternoon when lung efficiency peaks.

So, tell us what you think. Should we be moving towards a shorter working week or holding the status quo? Do you think working hours will increase or decrease in the future? And how do your working hours at your own job compare?

Image: Assembly line, The Henry Ford.