Working Only 8 Hours a Week Is Best for Mental Health

Work Is Good for You, But Only 8 Hours a Week

Working Only 8 Hours a Week Is Best for Mental Health

We all know that by reducing our workload, we will be 100% healthy. Many Americans are overworked, which means more stress and lower mental health. Unfortunately, according to a new study, we need to reduce our workload far more than most of us can handle.

In a study by the University of Cambridge and the University of Salford, researchers revealed the work patterns that are most conducive to employees' mental health. In a study of more than 71,000 people working in the UK, scientists looked at the links between people's workloads, mental health and life satisfaction and found that working around one day a week (or just eight hours a (per week).

In fact, mental health did not improve when people worked more than eight hours a week. But when people shifted from unemployment or full-time childcare to working eight hours a week, mental health risks were reduced by an average of 30 percent.

According to the report, "Full-time work is not the optimal category because it is not significantly different from any other category in terms of mental health and well-being."

This study shows what we all expect - that we will enjoy work more if we reduce our workload. In order to enjoy the mental health benefits of employment, the number of hours worked per week would have to be drastically reduced.

"Most policy options to address potential rises in unemployment levels have focused on measures such as a universal basic income to provide economic support for the unemployed," the authors said. "Our findings support another, more radical theoretical perspective - the redistribution of working hours in society."

While most of us can't imagine how to survive an eight-hour workweek, the study's authors suggest alternatives, such as five-day weekends, which would limit work to a few hours a day. Another is extending vacation and time off from weeks to months.

Reducing working hours would not only provide mental health benefits for employees, but could actually increase productivity and reduce carbon emissions from commuting. Brendan Burchell, a sociologist at the University of Cambridge, says, "If the UK were to spend its annual productivity gains on reducing working hours rather than on pay rises, the normal working week could be four days in ten years' time."

So, while it's certainly nice to get paid, we might want to look at the benefits of working less. Plus, many of us agree on one thing - a five-day weekend would make us all feel a lot better.