Experts Say: People Over 40 Should Only Work 3 Days a Week

When people reach certain age their work performance is not like in their younger years. However, they can still be very productive if there is a change in the working hours.

According to a 2016 study, released in the Melbourne Institute Worker Paper series, the performance of a 40 and over year old one will get substantially higher if his or hers work week lasts for 3 days.

The study has been conducted by The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economics and Social Research at the University of Melbourne involving work habits of 3,500 women and 3,000 men. These volunteers were given series of cognitive tests, including reciting lists of numbers backwards, reading aloud, and matching letters and numbers under time pressure. Aside these tests other factors were taken into consideration like economic well-being, life quality, family structures, and employment.

The results showed that the best work performance was in people who worked in average 25 hours per week. The optimal cognitive performance lasted until the 25-hour, and after these hours the scores on the cognitive tests got lowered as a result of stress and fatigue.

Here are some quotes of the published study:

“These results indicate that, for both males and females, the magnitude of the positive impact of working hours on their cognitive ability is decreasing until working hours reaches a threshold, and above that, further increases in working hours have a negative impact on their cognitive functioning…Then, where is the threshold?

Using the test scores of memory span and cerebral dysfunction for the respondents, it is found that working hours up to 25–30 hours per week have a positive impact on cognition for males depending on the measure and up to 22–27 hours for females…Our study highlights that too much work can have adverse effects on cognitive functioning.”

In this comprehensive research, an established professor of economics at Keio University, Colin McKenzie, took part. Here it is what he says:

“Many countries are going to raise their retirement ages by delaying the age at which people are eligible to start receiving pension benefits. This means that more people continue to work in the later stages of their life.

The degree of intellectual stimulation may depend on working hours. Work can be a double-edged sword. 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.

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.”

Another professor of economics at Lancaster University Management School, Geraint Johnes, states the following:

“What the authors find is that cognitive functioning improves up to the point at which workers work 25 hours a week and declines thereafter. Actually, at first the decline is very marginal, and there is not much of an effect as working hours rise to 35 hours per week. Beyond 40 hours per week, the decline is much more rapid.”

The work is the most important thing in the life of a person, but if you overdo it and your whole day is filled with tiresome working hours, then this for sure will put in danger your body and brain.

Possible Issues Due to Overwork

  • Body pains and sore eyes
  • Depression
  • Fatigue and sleep shortage
  • Alcohol or drug abuse for acquiring the needed relaxation
  • Low productivity even working for long hours
  • Poor social life


As a result of this, France banned the employers or other clients to send emails to employees after work hours. According to scientists the work-life balance must be established if we want optimal health. A change of the length a modern workweek is needed so that we protect the physical and mental health of our body.



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