(Newswire.net— December 30, 2018) — People older than 40 are the most productive when working three days a week or less, a study has found.
‘In middle and older age, working part-time could be effective in maintaining cognitive ability’ – said Professor Colin McKenzie from the University of Melbourne.
The research was conducted on 3,000 men and 3,500 women who answered questions about their work habits, solved cognitive tests and made conclusions.
Results of the research showed that subjects that had 25 working hours a week managed tasks better than those who worked more. With the increase in number of work tasks the harder it seemed for the subjects to manage, essentially the complexity of the tasks remained the same but the ability of the subjects to maintain their focus and their cognitive skills deteriorated exponentially.
Surprisingly, retired people as well as the unemployed achieved better results on cognitive intelligence tests compared to those who were working for more than 55 hours per week, with the standard working hours being 40 hours a week.
“The job is actually a two-edged sword. On the one hand it can stimulate cerebral cramps, and on the other hand, long working hours can cause stress and potentially weaken cognitive functions, “said one of Kolin McCenzie’s research authors.
“Too much work leads to stress and fatigue and that’s probably the key cause of this decline in cognitive skills after 25-30 hours a week,” said Professor McCenzie adding that the negative effect is also noted with people who work little or zero hours, which raised questions about optimal working hours for people over 40.
There are numerous variables to check in further investigations, for example, the impact of overall health and nationality, Prof. McCenzie said.
“If the number of hours doesn’t peak at the same place, there may be systemic reasons for that difference, for example Australia has four weeks of annual leave which tends to be longer than Japan,” professor said. He added that chances to refresh our body and brain may be important, as some people need more and others need less time to recover.
Although the optimal working week remains unclear, the research actually showed that less is more, and Professor McCenzie claims that those older than 40 should work no more than three days a week.