What Are Average Work Week Hours? (With FAQs)

Updated 4 January 2023

The average hours an employee works per week can vary by industry, position and a number of other factors. It's important to know common work schedules so you can determine the best work schedule for yourself. If you want to understand how many hours you should work in a week, it's helpful to learn how many hours per week are average for both full-time and part-time employees. In this article, we discuss what average work week hours are and explain the answers to several frequently asked questions related to work hours.

What are average work week hours?

Average work week hours can vary across professions, and different people may work best with different schedules. Typically, the normal work week for full-time occupations is 38 hours or more, and this can number vary by occupation. Some jobs require more or less hours per week. Many employees choose to work a full-time job because of benefits like:

  • Steady income: One top benefit of full-time work is that it offers employees a steady income. Full-time workers can be salaried, meaning they know how much they can make each paycheck, which is desirable to many employees.

  • Stability: Many employees also choose full-time work because of its stability. Full-time workers typically have regular and predictable schedules, which many people enjoy.

  • Benefits: Employee benefits are another perk of working full-time. Some employee benefits that full-time workers have include insurance, vacation days, sick days and retirement benefits.

  • Professional development: Working full-time can also help people advance their careers more quickly. Full-time careers can offer professional development opportunities like training and events.

Related: What Are Swing Shifts? (How They Work and Tips for Success)

What are average part-time hours?

Average part-time hours can vary widely for different people. Employees who work part-time typically work up to 38 hours, but this can vary based on different jobs and schedules. Some part-time employees may work more or fewer hours to fit their schedules. However, these schedules can also change each week. Many employees choose to work part-time because of benefits like:

  • Flexible hours: One of the top benefits of working part-time is that the work hours can be flexible. Part-time employees can often set work schedules that coordinate with their unique lives and responsibilities.

  • Time for other responsibilities: Many employees also choose to work part-time so they have enough extra time to fulfil other responsibilities like earning a degree or taking care of their family.

  • Reduced stress: Many employees choose part-time work to enjoy reduced stress. Often, part-time workers experience less stress, as they typically work fewer and more flexible hours.

  • Extra income: Some employees also choose to work a part-time job along with another job to allow them to earn extra income. This can allow them to gain income from multiple jobs.

How many hours can you work in a week?

Many employees are curious about how many hours they can work in a week. Part-time employees usually work fewer than 38 hours per week. The part-time hours you work may depend on factors such as your contract or any paid overtime you agree to. You might also make an agreement with your employer regarding the number of hours you'll work. Alternatively, full-time workers typically work 38 hours per week or more, and often, five days a week. Some industries such as manufacturing or medical often require full-time employees to work more than 38 hours per week.

For some people, there may be limitations to how many hours you can work per week. If you are under 18, you may need to take more breaks or more time off. For example, people in secondary education cannot be scheduled to work if they have 50 hours of a combination of school and employed work. Before you start a job, make sure you know how many hours you can work per week.

Related: What Is Flex Time? (With Definitions and Examples)

Is a 40-hour work week best?

Many employees work 40-hour weeks, and this is the standard schedule for many full-time occupations. Typically, a 40-hour work week is divided into five days with eight hours each. The specific hours of the day that an employee works can vary based on their company's guidelines and other factors. Some of the benefits of a 40-hour work week include:

  • Salary: Many employees choose to work a 40-hour work week so they can earn a salary instead of an hourly rate. Earning a salary is helpful so employees can know how much money they'll earn each month and maintain a budget.

  • Benefits: Working a 40-hour week can also qualify employees to get company benefits, including insurance and retirement benefits. These benefits can be essential for many employees.

  • Paid time off: Many employees also work this schedule so they can enjoy paid time off (PTO). Employees who work a 40-hour week are typically eligible for PTO.

  • Schedule: Many employees also enjoy the steady schedule of a traditional 40-hour week. Typically, employees who work full-time, 40-hour weeks work the same days and hours each week, which can help them plan and get into a routine.

Related: Your Guide To the Types of Employee Benefits

Is 50 hours per week a lot?

A 50-hour work week is another common workload for full-time employees. Working 50 hours per week is more than the typical 40-hour week, but many full-time employees work this schedule, including:

  • Trade workers

  • Truck drivers

  • Software developers

  • Health care professionals

  • Farmers

Often, employees who work 50-hour weeks may work five 10-hour days or work six days a week. Although this schedule has more hours than others, it can still be manageable. You can thrive in a 50-hour schedule by prioritising work-life balance, staying organised and taking plenty of breaks.

Related: How Many Working Hours Are In a Year? (With FAQs)

Is 55 hours per week a lot?

Some full-time employees also choose to work 55 hours per week. Working 55 hours per week, which is more hours than average for full-time workers, is considered a heavy workload. This schedule may be common for trade workers, medical professionals and other occupations. If you work 55-hour weeks, it's important to make time to take care of yourself. Try to to make time for exercise, eat a healthy diet and manage your stress. It's also important to stay organised so you can maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Related: Preparing for The Future of Work

Is working 60 hours per week too much?

People in certain full-time occupations may work 60-hour weeks. Sixty-hour weeks may be divided into six 10-hour days, five 12-hour days, or another schedule. Some employees choose to work 60-hour weeks to earn higher salaries, advance their careers or as a result of agreed overtime.

However, there can be some drawbacks to working 60 hours per week that are worth considering, including the potential of increased stress, burnout, physical health issues and sleep problems. Although working 60 hours per week can be challenging, there are steps you can take to thrive if you have a 60-hour schedule. Employees who work 60 hours per week can manage this workload by:

  • Maintaining work-life balance: One important way to manage a 60-hour week is to try to maintain work-life balance by making the effort to block time to enjoy your hobbies, be with family and friends, spend time outdoors and do other things outside of work.

  • Practising self-care: It's also important for employees who work 60 hours per week to practice self-care, including exercise, healthy eating. This can help employees decrease their stress and avoid burnout.

  • Getting enough sleep: It's crucial to make sure you get enough sleep if you work 60-hour weeks, as this can help you stay healthy and alert.

  • Managing stress: If you work 60-hour weeks, it's crucial to manage your stress to help you avoid burnout. This can help you thrive in your career.

  • Taking breaks: If you work long days and weeks, it's important to take breaks from work during the workday to stay energised and refreshed. On a break, you can exercise, spend time outdoors, or eat a healthy meal.

  • Planning carefully: It's also crucial to plan carefully and stay organised if you work 60-hour weeks. Be sure to save time in your calendar for breaks from work, vacation days and personal time.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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