Benefits and Compensation, Talent

Inventing A Better Workday for Better Work/Life Balance

by Stephan Aarstol,CEO and founder, Tower Paddle Boards

What if I told you that you could work fewer hours and be paid the same, or even more? What if I told you that you could give all your employees a raise for free, and they could go home early, everyday? What if I told you that this is also the fastest way to grow your business?  I doubt you’d believe me, and I don’t blame you. But here’s the thing: I just did it.

At my company, Tower Paddle Boards, I made one small change in 2015 that transformed my business and my life. As a result of that change, my employees and I began to enjoy our lives in a way we never imagined possible, and we also became incredibly productive in the office.

Today, my entire team is happy, our customers are happy, and business is absolutely booming. That one small change has had an enormous, positive, and lasting impact on all of us.

So, what was the change we made? We shortened the workday to 5 hours. That’s it.

This sounds like a simple change, but believe me, it wasn’t an easy or fast decision. It took a lifetime of paradigm-shifting experiences, along with a solid understanding of our economic past and future, before I gained the courage to bet my entire company on this experiment.

Luckily, the experiment has worked. In fact, it’s worked so well, and so far beyond my wildest expectations, that I feel the need to share it with you. I believe this could change your life, your company, and possibly our entire society for the better.

Here’s how a 5-hour workday can improve the quality of life for your staff and yourself tenfold:

Relationship benefits

We have a real divorce problem in America, and I think our overworking contributes greatly to it. Parents are working too long, not spending enough time with each other and with their kids.

What happens if American parents were done with work at 1:00 p.m.? They can catch every game, every recital, every community event. They can have time for date night with their spouse. Or maybe just have time to have a nice, normal, unrushed conversation over the dinner table. Time to watch a funny movie together, laugh together. Time to love each other.

Other family benefits

In addition to the happiness-generating effects of spending more time with your partner, spouse, or children, the 5-hour workday solves another problem: childcare. What a nightmare. Our current workday requires working parents to find (and pay for, in most cases) 3 to 6 hours of childcare every day.

Now, what changes if one parent or both parents are off work by 1:00 p.m.?

Health benefits

With an abundance of free time every afternoon, most people are going to fill their time with some form of recreation and exercise. It might be tennis, or riding a bike, or any number of things. Exercise is a huge gain to energy levels and productivity, not to mention the savings for businesses on their health insurance premiums if everyone in the office becomes healthier.

Personal happiness leads to workplace happiness

When a person becomes happier outside of work, they bring that into the office with them. I can’t really quantify how this helps a business, but Vishen Lakhiani from Mindvalley said it best: “Happiness is the new productivity tool.” I’ve found that to be true in myself, as well as everyone around me.

Killing the silent killers: Stress and burnout

In the current situation where half the country of knowledge workers is working more than 50 hours a week, we’ve got a real problem with stress and burnout. We’re bending people too far, for too long, and they’re breaking. It’s draining society at large, with a host of social ills and health problems. Prescription drug abuse is on the rise. Illegal drug abuse has been for some time. Obesity is becoming commonplace. Heart disease and other stress-related health problems are on the rise.

We’ve seen this problem before

In the early 1900s, it was common for factory workers to work 10- to 16-hour days, 6 days a week. The industrial revolution brought about massive gains in productivity, but it also raised the pace of work to unsustainable levels. Hundreds of thousands of people we dying and getting maimed on America’s factory floors every year.

It became very obvious that those long hours of physical labor were not sustainable, and in 1914 Henry Ford ushered in a new 8-hour workday, and that started a movement that would ultimately increase the quality of life of an entire nation.

Today, we’re in the middle of the Information Age with an equally dramatic shift in productivity for knowledge workers. Yet we’re still using a workday model that was designed for factory workers over 100 years ago.

The workday needs to evolve. The work world has fundamentally shifted. Moving to a 5-hour workday may be just what the doctor ordered.

Stephan Aarstol Stephan Aarstol is the author of The Five-Hour Workday: Live Differently, Unlock Productivity, and Find Happiness. He is CEO and founder of Tower, a holistic beach-lifestyle company, which includes Tower Paddle Boards, Tower Magazine,, and a direct-to-consumer surf- and beach-lifestyle company at For more information, please visit and and connect with Stephan on Twitter, @stephan.aarstol.

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