Working for just one day a week will improve your mental health, study finds
20 June 2019, 11:15
The rise of artificial intelligence in the workplace could see the traditional working week get an overhaul
Working for just one day a week is thought to dramatically improve employee's mental health, according to a new study.
While having a job is thought to reduce the risk of depression and boost productivity, confidence and self-esteem, experts from Salford and Cambridge universities discovered that being employed for just one to eight hours a week was the most "effective dose" and reduced the risk of mental health problems by a third.
Researchers have investigated the impact that different working hours had on quality of life by surveying over 70,000 employees.
The study was published in the journal of Social Science and Medicine, and argued that in the future, working just two hours a day - or having five day weekends - would deliver optimum health, compared to the average 37 hours a week currently worked by most UK citizens.
Cambridge University researcher, Dr Brendan Burchell, a sociologist from Cambridge University said: “We have effective dosage guides for everything from Vitamin C to hours of sleep in order to help us feel better, but this is the first time the question has been asked of paid work.
“We know unemployment is often detrimental to people’s wellbeing, negatively affecting identity, status, time use, and sense of collective purpose... We now have some idea of just how much paid work is needed to get the psychosocial benefits of employment - and it’s not that much at all.”
Salford University researcher, Dr Daiga Kamerade, said: "In the next few decades we could see artificial intelligence, big data and robotics replace much of the paid work currently done by humans.
"If there is not enough for everybody who wants to work full-time, we will have to rethink current norms."