The findings of a study done by the Melbourne Institute Worker Paper showed that people older than 40 are most productive when they work only 3 days a week.
This might also indicate that the efficiency and productivity of people reduce over the years. The aim of the researchers was to analyze the cognitive abilities of workers over 40.
The study involved 3,000 men volunteers and 3,500 women volunteers, and experts analyzed their memory, executive reasoning, and abstract reasoning.
Data used for the study was drawn from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey, conducted by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economics and Social Research at the University of Melbourne.
Researchers analyzed the family structures, employment, and economic and subjective well-being of participants. They were asked to recite lists of numbers backward, read words aloud, and to match letters and numbers under time pressure. Results showed that the ones that worked 25 hours a week got the best scores on the tests.
According to the report:
“Work can be a double-edged sword, in that it can stimulate brain activity, but at the same time, long working hours and certain types of tasks can cause fatigue and stress which potentially damage cognitive functions.”
When they were working 5 days a week, participants were found to perform much worse, compared to their performance in the case of 25- hour working week.
The poor results were apparently due to fatigue and stress, and according to professor Colin McKenzie, one of the leading authors of this study, the level of intellectual stimulation is deeply affected by the working hours. Work stimulates the activity of the brain, and it is also the main cause of fatigue and stress.
The conclusion of the study was that the working hours have the main influence on the cognitive functions of people, and working for more than 30 hours a week negatively affects the brain health in middle-aged people.