Henry Ford had every right to maintain the 10-16 hour workday that was common over 100 years ago, and pocket the financial gains of a new productivity called the “assembly line.” But where other capitalists saw a path to greater profits, Ford had a much grander vision. Ford took a gamble that would change the world as we know it: he doubled his workers’ wages, and more importantly, he gave them their time back. He reduced the workday to eight hours, and shared the fruits of this new productivity, in both money and time.
Fast-forward a century. The eight-hour workday is now outdated and irrelevant. Today’s knowledge workers have the power to be massively more productive, but also to waste an extraordinary amount of time. The reality is these workers are only doing 2-3 hours of real work a day, yet clock 9.4 on average. Widely available productivity tools are not being used. Switching to a five-hour workday empowers and incentivizes employees to use these tools and work at a more intense pace.
The Five-Hour Workday: Live Differently, Unlock Productivity, and Find Happiness by Stephan Aarstol is about one company that simply asked why. A company that had the courage to try an experiment, toward re-inventing a more sensible, productive, and healthy workday for the knowledge workers of today.
A company that switched to a five-hour workday, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and found that it changed everything for the better. As a result, that company—Tower Paddle Boards—is now one of the fastest-growing companies in the nation and is backed by billionaire entrepreneur, Mark Cuban, who initially invested in Tower during Aarstol’s now infamous appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank.
In The Five-Hour Workday, Aarstol, company founder and CEO, explains how his company’s experiment has changed both his business and his workers’ lives for the better, and why it has the potential to do so for our entire society.
“With our five-hour workday, we’ve created a workweek better than most people’s vacation weeks,” says Aarstol. “It improves work/life balance not just incrementally, but by ten-fold. Imagine 8-10 hours of free time every weekday. Time for kids, friends, family, and pursuing passions. It’s game changing. The five-hour workday betters the life of myself, and my staff,” adds Aarstol. “If I show the world, through this book, what my company is doing, it’s possible we can positively affect the quality of life of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or even millions of people. It is possible to completely rethink how we work.” For more of Bookworm, order your copy of The Summer Issue here.