Activity 2d: Work-life Balance in the 21st Century

Statistics show that, in recent years, people are working increasingly longer hours. This raises the question as to whether the gains that were made during the Eight-hour Day movement of the mid-1850s are being lost. Students use this activity to look at the reality of working hours today and the question of work-life balance to assess the relevance of the Eight-hour Day movement to today’s workers.

Resources Required

  • computers with audio capacity
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Microsoft Excel
  • digital camera(s) with video and audio capacity 
  • video-editing software such as Windows Movie Maker.


Students survey their family members to record their main activities in a typical day. Students can present their data in a graph using a program such as Microsoft Excel. In pairs, students then make a two-minute film to present as a vodcast. If access to movie cameras is not possible, students could create a photo story or PowerPoint presentation using still images.

The film or presentation should answer the following questions:

  • Do the working hours of today reflect the slogan: ‘Eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest’?
  • What does this mean for the quality of life of today’s workers?
  • What sorts of actions could today's workers take to try to improve work-life balance? 


Activity 2a | Activity 2bActivity 2c | Activity 2d

People Power Introduction2. Eight-Hour Day

Overview of Activities: Focus Question 2 | Teacher Information