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Work is good for you – but only one day a week, scientists say



Working eight hours a week is the "recommended dose" for optimal mental well-being, British scientists say.

In a study published on Tuesday, researchers from Cambridge University and Salford University tried to find a working model. this would be most beneficial to the workers' mental health. It was conducted with the assumption that boosting automation would force companies to "rethink the current norms" around working time.

The project examined the relationship between working time, mental health and life satisfaction in over 71,000 working-age people in the UK over a nine-year period. Participants were asked about problems with anxiety and sleep problems to assess the state of their mental health.

For optimal mental health, "the most effective dose" is about a day a week, scientists concluded. people have moved from unemployment or parental residence to the home for up to eight hours a week, with the risk of mental problems dropping by an average of 30%.

It works more than eight hours a week with an additional boost to mental health, according to the report.

"Full-time work was not the optimal category because it does not differ significantly from any other category in terms of mental health and well-being," the report said. , the relationship between working time and life satisfaction is slightly different. by the end of their working week 20 hours.

The authors of the study suggested that everyone in working age take advantage of the mental health benefits associated with employment, the working week should be drastically reduced so that the available work is redistributed and shared.

"Most policy options to address the potential rise in unemployment rates are focused on measures such as universal basic income to provide economic support to the unemployed," the authors said. "Our findings support an alternative, more radical, theoretical perspective ̵

1; redistribution of working time in society." Their proposals to make this opportunity include five-day weekends that only work for a few hours a day, increasing annual daily allowances from weeks to months or two months of unemployment for each month worked.

They also noted that it should be made available to everyone in order to avoid increasing socio-economic inequalities, reducing hours.

enhancing the work-life balance, scientists say reduced working hours will increase productivity and help reduce carbon emissions from travel to work.

"If the United Kingdom had to cut the annual increase in part-time productivity, instead of raising salary, the normal working week could be four days within a decade," said Cambridge University sociologist Brendan Burhel, lead the research project. Executive Director of Mental Health America said companies should take responsibility for the welfare of their employees, noting that workplace stress often leads to people being involved in unhealthy behavior outside of work. "This study shows that the optimal benefits of work come after eight hours – then employers need to create a job to support mental well-being," he told CNBC on the phone. "It's hard to get a sense of productivity without work, but like that, if you go to work and there is no game, it will not help you."

Tej Parikh, chief economist at the British Institute of Directors, told CNBC via e-mail business leaders are increasingly studying flexible working practices against the backdrop of advances in technology.

"This study emphasizes that work is often not just about wage checking – it can also have a positive effect on mental well-being," he said.

Meanwhile, Emma Mambo, the head of workplace welfare at CNBC's UK charity, is needed to bring it into line with the capabilities of each individual.

"Factors such as debt, unemployment and social assistance problems can be linked to poor mental health," she said. "The type of work is also important – it must be tailored to the individual needs, skills and aspirations of someone."


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