I had a lovely girly catch up with my friend last weekend and discussed the work-life balance. She has two young kids and had to go back to work only a few months after the birth. She has been working 6 days a week to cover her outgoings. Her husband works full time too. Juggling childcare, work and actually being with her husband has not been easy.
There has been a research done about actually working less.
Although this study was done for people over 40, I believe it can well apply to us women in 30ties. Especially with today’s demands and stresses on a daily basis.
What if we could choose to work only 3 days a week?
But how do you explain it to your boss? A new study in the Melbourne Institute’s Working Paper Series found that a three-day work week may be the best way to keep employees over 40 productive yet not burned out.
In the study, researchers from Australia and Japan looked at how working hours affected cognitive abilities of 3,500 women and 3,000 men over 40 years old in Australia. The volunteer subjects had to do various cognitive tests, such as reciting sequences of numbers and reading words aloud.
“Our findings show that there is a non-linearity in the effect of working hours on cognitive functioning,” the research said. “For working hours up to around 25 hours a week, an increase in working hours has a positive impact on cognitive functioning. However, when working hours exceed 25 hours per week, an increase in working hours has a negative impact on cognition.”
Sounds good to us. And, interestingly enough, the findings were the same for men and women.
However, if working 25 hours is not possible, what’s the next best thing—a 40-hour work week or not working at all? If we’re talking working over 55 hours per week, that’s worse yet for cognitive functioning than not working at all.
“The degree of intellectual stimulation may depend on working hours,” said one of the researchers, Colin McKenzie, professor of economics at Keio University.
“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.”
Okay, overall, it sounds like the 25-hour work week is a win. So who wants to conduct this study in the UK and the U.S. so we have backup when we go to our bosses?
*note done by the writer of this blog.
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