In many countries, employees are required to work eight hours a day and some even work more than that. Also, workers are eligible for the pension scheme only after retirement, but some governments are planning to extend the age of retirement.
Delaying age of retirement increases the working life of people which adds more strain and stress to their lives. A new study suggests that individuals who are above 40 years of age must work for three days a week and longer hours can have an adverse impact on their health.
‘A three-day-week gets the best performance from workers aged over 40 while more than that can cause stress and fatigue, potentially damaging cognitive functioning. ’
Melbourne researchers examined about 3000 men and women for their cognitive functions and work-hour practices. At the end of the analysis, they found middle-aged people who worked for 25 hours a week performed better than people who used to work for 55 hours a week.
The team reported that cognitive abilities decreased in people who worked for 55 hours a week but it remained intact in employees who worked for 25 hours a week. Therefore, researchers suggest that 25 hours will be the ideal working time for middle aged people as it boosts their productivity and performance.
As many countries are going to raise their retirement ages, more people will continue to work in the later stages of their life. But longer working hours can cause fatigue and stress, which potentially damage cognitive functions. Therefore, a part-time job will help older people strike a balance between keeping the brain active and leading a happy and stress-free life. The report was published by the University of Melbourne's Faculty of Business & Economics in the Melbourne Institute Worker Paper series.
"We point out that differences in working hours are important for maintaining cognitive functioning in middle-aged and elderly adults. This means that, in middle and older age, working part-time could be effective in maintaining cognitive ability," wrote the authors.