According to a study done by the Melbourne Institute Worker Paper, people that are over the age of 40, are most productive at work when they work only 3 days a week. So, this might mean that people who are older are working less efficiently and are less productive.
The goal of this Australian study was, to analyze the cognitive abilities of workers who were older than 40. In the study were included about 3,000 men volunteers and 3,500 women volunteers.
The experts from the study were mostly focused on the worker’s executive reasoning, memory and abstract reasoning. In order for the experts to see how productive the participants were at the work they were doing, they were measuring their cognitive performance.
The researchers from the study concluded that the performance of the workers was reduced when they were working 55 hours a week. And they also noticed that there was a huge improvement in their performance when they were working for 25 hours a week.
Main Causes for Reduced Performance
Mostly the participants in the study lost their performance due to stress and fatigue. Professor Colin McKenzie, was one of the leading authors of this study, and he claims that the level of intellectual stimulation is deeply bonded and mostly is depending on the working hours.
Even though that work is the only thing that can stimulate the activity of our brain, it is also the main cause for stress and fatigue. Therefore it may have a huge impact on our their cognitive functions.
How Working Hours Affect the Brain
In elderly people, one of the most important roles for maintaining the cognitive functions is played by the working hours. In the study was concluded that the brain health of middle-aged men was affected in a negative way if they worked more than 30 hours a week.
For maintaining a normal cognitive functioning, it is best to work 40 hours a week. But this doesn’t mean that the positive effects of work will be or can be maximized. It depends on may other factors as well.
But however, it is very hard to take control of each factor that is able to contribute with the results of this study.
Is it important to have a part-time job or a full time job? Does it really matter the type of work you do? What if the job you work is intellectually demanding more than other jobs?
Professor McKenzie reported that it is very hard to tell the common effects of the job someone has, and how it is affecting their cognitive functions. Therefore, it is best for people to choose their jobs, according to their cognitive abilities.
Still nobody has a clear answer why working more than 30 hours a week is bad for our brain, because we know that we need to work more in order to maximize the positive effects of the work we do, but we also know that a lot of work can cause stress and fatigue.
It is pretty hard to know all of the factors that contribute, because people take holidays a few times a year. However, the government believes that it is okay for people to work until 67, but it turns out that it is not that beneficial and good. Therefore the government is aiming to make a change, working 40 hours a week, until 67, this change is about to be made in 2026 or 2028.
In order to prevent from fatigue and stress caused from work, you should pick the job you like doing the most, and it is also highly important that the job satisfies you and makes you happy. But it is also normal for people not to work the same as they did when they were younger.
So, it is very unwise and unnatural to force elderly people who are over 60 years old, to work the same way as they did 20 years ago or even more, as the government wants and claims. There are some changes to be made, but that is not clear yet, so the best way to solve this is to find a job that makes you happy!