Scientists Confirm We’re All Overworked: Just 8 Hours A Week Is The Recommended Dose

25 June 2019
Overworked, Mental Health, Burnout
It's time to start pushing for that five-day weekend, people

Approaching the middle of the year, chances are most of us are finding it a little harder to wake up in the morning and begin are daily commute to work. The rhythm we may have established earlier in the year seems to grind at a glacial pace now, and where there once was room for spontaneity or adventure, all we have left are deadlines, the rabbit hole of work emails, and post-5pm meetings.

If there’s a chance you’re burning your candle at both ends, you might heed the words of some British scientists. According to a recent study from the University of Cambridge and the University of Salford, an eight hour work week is the “recommended dose” for a workers’ wellbeing.

Believing that companies are going to have to “rethink [the] current norms of a work week because of the rise of automation, researchers looked at the unbearable link that tethers your mental health to the amount of time worked and how satisfied you are with life. This was analysed over a nine-year period, with 71,000 working age people in Britain.

Those who participated had their mental health analysed after they were asked about work-related issues, like anxiety and sleep deprivation. The results found that the most effective dose for their subjects’ mental health was roughly one day per week. Not surprisingly, the authors called for the standard work week to be chopped down so available work could be relocated and shared to those who many not be working, as a way of easing the burden on those who are overworked.

The concept isn’t particularly new. Back in 2007, esteemed entrepreneur and author Tim Ferris published what became the self-help hit of the decade, “The Four-Hour Work Week.” The book went on to sell over a million copies and catapulted Ferris into a tier of fame reserved for only the most life-hacking, chart-topping self-help gurus of our time.

While it can’t be denied that Ferris capitalised on our fear of spending every waking moment at our desk, eyes straining against the blank page of an Excel or Word document as our fingers typed away feverishly, he did make some valid points. Ferris introduced the concept of “deferred-life plan” and mastered new currencies – time and mobility – to create luxury lifestyles in the here and now.

Most importantly however, he championed a movement for working less. Something that seems positively foreign and unheard of in today’s capitalist society, where being “busy” is worn like a badge of honour. Instead, Ferris dismantled the notion we seem to have that we’re supposed to work until we are 60, then retire and have a good life. Ferris proposes a change and calls those who take up the new way of living the “New Rich,” as they are rich in life rather than dollars (although, perhaps you can have both?).

In the study from Britain’s scientists, they added to the suggestion that a five-day weekend should be considered. Ultimately, it seems that we are all headed for therapy if we continue to work this much and burn ourselves out. But perhaps rather than seeing this as something to be admired, we should value our own time. Productivity is far more important in the workplace than simply times spent clocked on office time. Let’s start the 8-hour work week – input your N/A days immediately.

Via GQ Australia