A 2007 study by the ILO found that at least 614.2 million people around the world were working excessive hours.
In the United States, the workweek length reduced slowly from before the Civil War to the turn of the 20th century.
The present-day concept of the relatively longer 'week-end' first arose in the industrial north of Britain in the early part of nineteenth century and was originally a voluntary arrangement between factory owners and workers allowing Saturday afternoon off from 2pm in agreement that staff would be available for work sober and refreshed on Monday morning.
In 1908, the first five-day workweek in the United States was instituted by a New England cotton mill so that Jewish workers would not have to work on the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
The workweek and weekend are those complementary parts of the week devoted to labour and rest, respectively.
The New Economics Foundation has recommended moving to a 21-hour standard workweek to address problems with unemployment, high carbon emissions, low well-being, entrenched inequalities, overworking, family care, and the general lack of free time.
Most countries have adopted a two-day weekend, however, the days of the weekend differ according to religious tradition, i.e.
either Thursday–Friday, Friday–Saturday, or Saturday–Sunday, with the previous evening post-work often considered part of the weekend.
Shops open seven days a week in most states with opening hours from 9am to 5.30pm on weekdays, with some states having two "late night trading" nights on Thursday and Friday, when trading ceases at 9pm.
Many supermarkets and low end department stores remain open until midnight and some trade 24/7.