For years, experts have been debating if the current 40-hour working week should be reduced to 4 or even 3, as there have been scientific studies which have showed that we’re far more productive if we work 3 days a week. According to a recent study, working 3 days a week is definitely better than working 40 hours a week. The participants who worked for 25 hours or less were more productive and had a significantly higher cognitive performance, while those that worked closer to 40 hours suffered cognitive decline due to the high stress and fatigue.
The Australian study examined more than 6000 men and women whose work habits were closely analyzed. The study tested the participants’ ability to read words and recite numbers, and the testing measured their “knowing” and “thinking” part of ability such as memory, abstractive reasoning and executive reasoning. The results showed that the people who worked 25 hours a week had the best performance results, while those that were working for more than 40 hours per week experienced mental decline and even some health problems.
One of the study’s authors, Colin McKenzie from the Keio University, said that many European countries are trying to raise the retirement ages, which means that more and more people will continue working later in life. However, he thinks this is wrong. Work, as professor McKenzie says, is a double-edged sword – it can stimulate our cognitive function, but it can also damage them. Working for 40 hours per week is better than not working at all, but not optimally great for our brain.
Of course, the results varied from country to country, and also depended on the day of leave people get. Controlling these factors for a study of this kind is pretty hard, but the results showed that working full time until you’re nearly 70 isn’t exactly appealing. The 40-hour work week has a detrimental effect on our brain and cognitive function, and we think all governments should take it into consideration. Working up to 68 years of age and 40 hours a week is detrimental for the worker and harms the employer as well.
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