If you work full time – which is around 37 hours per week – or even part time in fact, it turns out you’re working far too much. Well, according to a new mental health study, that is.
Instead, it has been discovered that the most ‘effective dose’ of employment is actually just one day per week, as this provides us with the maximum mental health benefits of paid work.
The research, conducted by sociologists at the Universities of Cambridge and Salford, found that the risk of mental health problems reduced by an impressive 30 per cent when people moved from unemployment or stay-at-home parenting into paid work of eight hours or less per week.
The results, published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, were reached after the researchers looked into the correlation between working hours and the state of our mental health, following the concerns over the rise of automation technology, which, as reported by the Independent, may lead to overall shorter working hours for everyone in the future.
They used data from a survey of more than 70,000 UK residents between 2009 and 2018 and analysed how changes in their working hours were linked to their mental health and life satisfaction, which ultimately concluded that eight hours of work per week had the best benefits for both.
Explaining the findings, the study’s co-author Dr Brendan Burchell, a sociologist from 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.’
He continued: ‘We know unemployment is often detrimental to people’s wellbeing, negatively affecting identity, status, time use, and sense of collective purpose. 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.’
Right, we’re pitching this to our bosses. Who’s with us?