For most of us, a forty hour work week is considered the norm, but a recent study has suggested the most "effective dose" for getting maximum benefits of paid work is just eight hours per week. The equivalent of working just one day per week.
The risk of mental health problems reduced by 30 per cent after people moved from unemployment or stay-at-home parenting into eight hours or less of work per week. Results found no evidence that working more than eight hours provided further boosts to mental health, reports the Independent.
Researchers at the universities of Cambridge and Salford investigated the relationship between working hours and mental health, after concerns over automation technology reducing working hours in the future. Data from a 70,000 person survey between 2009 and 2018 was used to explore the link between changes in working hours and mental health.
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Dr Brendan Burchell, sociologist from the University of Cambridge, said: “We have effective dosage guides for everything from vitamin C to hours of sleep in order to help us feel better, but this is the first time the question has been asked of paid work.”
“We now have some idea of just how much paid work is needed to get the psychosocial benefits of employment - and it’s not that much at all.”
Research also suggested that limited work could be a possibility, such as five-day weekends, working just two hours a day or increasing annual holiday from weeks to months.