More than eight hours a week is obviously unnecessary. As we have seen, the positive effects do not increase further with prolongation of working time.
In these stressful moments, when pressures on employees are high and overtime is a common issue, it seems like the idleness of life is very appealing to many: no compromises and commitments, and just doing what you want is for many dreams. But what in the imagination seems a paradise, because our long-term psychological well-being is not good. Many studies prove that a person needs a job for well-being. Because employment promotes self-image, it satisfies us and gives us the sense of being socially involved.
But how many hours are needed for this positive effect? "For almost everyone, there are recommended doses – from vitamin C intake to sleep duration – so we asked first what kind of recommendation for paid work would be," explained co-author of the research by Brendan Burchell of the University of Cambridge.
To determine this, a group of scientists studied data from a long-term British study involving 70,000 people. People aged 16-64 were monitored for nine years and regularly recorded data on their work status. To assess their mental health, they were also asked about problems such as anxiety or sleep disorders.
It has been discovered that the link between mental state and workload does indeed exist. On returning to work after a prolonged period of unemployment or maternity leave, the mental health of survey participants improved. For eight hours, or even less than a week, the risk of psychological problems is reduced by 30% on average, according to scientists.
With this increasing workload, this effect has not increased. Full-time, the situation in the bank account increased, and there was no significant difference in mental health among people who worked less. "Now we have a sense of how much paid work is needed to get psychosocial benefits from the job. Not much," Burchell said.
Scientists believe their findings are important, especially in light of the rapidly changing labor market. The predictions go in the direction that technological progress in the form of robots or artificial intelligence could, in the future, eliminate jobs in many areas. "According to our findings, the workweek can be significantly reduced without undermining the mental health and well-being of workers," the researchers said.