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• Futurist forecasts how we’ll be working four-hour days within just 30 years
• The ‘suboptimal’ 9-5 will come to an end in most industries
• Collaborative robots will be to thank for shorter working days

Work. It’s a subject that unites us all. But have you ever wondered where the standard 9-5 that governs our every day came from? Or where it’s headed?

A new report created by acclaimed futurist James Wallman and Yell, reveals a positive view on how working lives will look by the year 2050, thanks to a wave of new technologies including artificial intelligence, augmented reality and the internet of things. The results are intriguing, with the most prominent being the ‘Four Hour Working Day’.

The current work day was set up to squeeze as much as possible out of workers when they performed routine tasks in factories and offices. Emerging research suggests that 8-hour days are a suboptimal way to work – the optimum is far closer to 4 hours per day. As robots and ‘cobots’ perform more of the routine tasks, humans will become more creative. And the best way to be creative is to work around four hours per day. This radical change will also have huge benefits on our health and wellbeing, as well as balancing family life.

A prediction sure to excite workers around the world, Yell took the notion of a four-hour working day and asked three innovative entrepreneurs for their thoughts on how this might impact them and their working lives.

Tim Antos, Founder of sleep aiding headphones, Kokoon Technology sees this a positive prediction, especially with the ethos behind his product;

“This heavily ties in with a personal passion of mine, and a big reason for Kokoon: the need for everyone to get enough sleep. This is so essential, and shorter working hours will allow that to happen, and that will have a huge knock-on effect with productivity.”

Sarah Slade, working mum and co-owner of mood-boosting candle brand, SevenSeventeen, thinks it’s a game changer; "With the help of cobots, getting the most out of our time should become easier. As business owners, there will undoubtedly always be the unavoidable call at 9pm or having to pop in to the office at the weekend – but ultimately, it's flexibility we see as being the most important game changer in the future of business."

The full report, which is available to download here, focuses on a further six key trends predicted by James, including the ‘Cobot Revolution’: a world where humans work collaboratively with robots in all industries, a key aspect of making a four hour work day possible.

Following the rapid growth of digital and social media, Yell has transformed into a digital business – helping businesses and consumers be successful online and is committing to help a million businesses be found, chosen and trusted by more customers online by 2020.

Mark Clisby, Product and Marketing Director at Yell said: “We’re living in a time of incredible change. The next 30 years are set to be very exciting for us all. We look forward to continuing to help business owners and consumers to adapt to changing technologies, both now and in the future.”


About Yell

Yell is No. 1 for managed digital marketing services for all types of local businesses in the UK. Its goal is simple; to connect consumers and businesses online. now provides advanced tools to support consumers in their search for suppliers, including ratings and reviews, mobile apps and social media sharing. Yell is the largest reseller of Google AdWords in the UK and provides the full range of digital media and managed services for businesses including Pay Per Click, Display and Social advertising, Websites and online directory listings. Over 130,000 businesses currently advertise with Yell, and is used by millions of consumers every month.

Further information on Yell UK is available at:

About James Wallman

James Wallman is a futurist. He runs strategy + innovation + futures consultancy The Future is Here. He wrote the best-selling book, Stuffocation (Penguin, 2015). Wallman has advised companies from Absolut to Zurich Financial. He has given talks from Amsterdam to Las Vegas; at venues including the Googleplex and 10 Downing Street. He has forecast the future since 2004. His opinions have appeared in the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Economist, and Wired. He has appeared on TV and radio from Australia to Brazil and the US. He has an MA in Classics from the University of Oxford.