According to a study performed at the Institute Worker Paper in Melbourne, people who are older than 40 are more efficient and productive when they work three days per week.

This Australian study, which included 3,000 men and 3,500 women, analyzed the cognitive abilities of the older workers.

Namely, the researchers measured the participants’ abilities such as memory, executive reasoning, and abstract reasoning. They also tested their cognitive performance in order to determine their efficiency at work. Participants’ financial status, family structure, and economic well-being were also taken into consideration.

So, the results have shown that the men and women who participated in this study were more efficient when they worked only 25 hours per week. However, once they started to work 55 hours weekly, their performance significantly declined.

What are the causes of the low performance at work?

Professor Colin McKenzie, who was one of the lead authors of the Australian study, claimed that the level of intellectual ability and stimulation depend on the working hours.

Even though working increases the brain activity, it can also trigger a high level of stress and fatigue, which on the other hand may have a huge impact on the overall cognitive abilities.

The number of working hours can affect the brain function

Working hours are of utmost importance in maintaining the cognitive skills, especially in adults who are older than 40. Therefore, working more than 30 hours weekly can affect the function of the brain of middle-aged adults.
According to Professor McKenzie, 40-hour work week is useful for maintaining the normal brain function but it doesn’t increase the positive effects of working.

Here is what experts recommend

This study raises several questions about the types of work and their effects on the human brain. As Professor McKenzie claims, it is difficult to identify the correlation between the type of work and its effects on the cognitive functioning. This means that people should choose their jobs according to their cognitive skills and abilities.

Another important factor that should be considered is the amount of annual leave people take per year. Namely, having a full-time job until the age of 67 is not beneficial for the health at all.

Therefore, experts suggest choosing a job that makes you happy. In that way, you will prevent fatigue and stress and you will improve your physical and mental health. Also, taking into consideration that middle-aged people cannot work as efficiently as they could when they were 20, it is really unnecessary to force them to work full time until the age of 67.

However, more research is required to confirm the claims from this study.