How old are you? Should you actually be working 3 days a week?
More and more studies are showing that a 40-hour work week isn’t the most productive way to get things done. So it’s no surprise that a report published by Melbourne Institute now says that people over the age of 40 are most productive when they work three or less days a week.
Researchers studied 3,000 male and 3,500 female volunteers, analyzing their work habits and having participants complete cognitive tests. The cognitive tests included asking volunteers to read text backwards, match numbers and letters under pressure, and read out loud.
Participants’ performance on these tests improved when participants increased their working hours to 25 hours a week. However, when participants increased their performance beyond 25 hours a week, their performance on the cognitive tests declined.
When scientists analyzed this data, they concluded that a workload beyond 25 hours did not increase positive work output. In other words, working over 3 days a week is not beneficial for those over 40.
This research is in direct contrast to what’s commonly happening in modern work culture. Study co-author, Colin McKenzie said, “Many countries are going to raise their retirement ages by delaying the age at which people are eligible to start receiving pension benefits. This means that more people continue to work in the later stages of their life.” In fact, “The degree of intellectual stimulation may depend on working hours. Work can be a double-edged sword, in that it can stimulate brain activity, but at the same time long working hours can cause fatigue and stress, which potentially damage cognitive functions.”
McKenzie also pointed out that “differences in working hours are important for maintaining cognitive functioning in middle-aged and elderly adults” and that working part-time can “be effective in maintaining cognitive ability.”
So the point is, keep working you guys, but maybe don’t work quite so hard.