BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie has worked fewer hours the more senior he has become

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Andrew Mackenzie, the chief executive of BHP, the world’s biggest mining company, says we need to work fewer hours, not more.

“The more senior I’ve become, the more important it is that I work fewer hours,” he said in an interview with the Qantas inflight magazine.

“A rested Andrew can do more in four hours than a tired Andrew can do in eight.

“That’s true of everyone’s productivity and particularly in an intellectual role like that of a CEO.”

Mackenzie was paid $US4.55 million in 2017, according to the company’s annual report.

The latest research shows the average employee works for about three hours in an eight-hour day.

The rest of the time, according to a 2016 survey of 1,989 UK office workers, is spent on reading the news, checking social media, eating, socialising, taking a break and looking for a new job.

Amazon is testing shorter days and weeks. The retail giant in September last year began an experiment with 30-hour weeks in which a few dozen employees began working 10am to 2pm, Monday to Thursday. The group would be paid 75% of their normal salary but retain full benefits.

The company hasn’t released any data yet on how the move has affected people’s productivity or quality of life.

But psychologists say the move is likely to make people more refreshed and less stressed.

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