People over 40 should only work 3 days a week, study finds

Unless you’re part of a small minority of human beings, the chances are you’d like to work less.

Face it, work quickly becomes a focal point in your life, with the real kicker being that we’re not done with spending five days a week on it until we’re of retirement age.

If, like me, that idea doesn’t fill you with happiness, you’ll be pleased to know that a new study has shown people over 40 are at their most productive when they’re only working three days a week…

The study in question comes from the Melbourne Institute Worker Paper and seems to indicate that the productivity of people wanes over the years. The aim of the research was to analyze the cognitive abilities of those aged over 40.


The study included 3,000 male volunteers and 3,500 females, with experts looking into their memory, executive reasoning and abstract reasoning.

Researchers analyzed the participants’ family structures and employment, as well as their economic and subjective well-being. They were asked to perform such tasks as reading things backwards, reading words aloud and matching numbers and letters under time pressure. The results proved that those who worked 25 hours a week did the best.

According to professor Colin McKenzie, one of the study’s leading authors, the level of intellectual stimulation is greatly affected by working hours. Work is a driver of stimulation for the brain, and so the main cause of fatigue, tiredness and stress.


McKenzie also believes that it’s very difficult to specify the effects of each job and the way they affect the cognitive abilities of a person. He says people should always choose their job based on their cognitive abilities.

That said, Geraint Johnes, professor of economics at Lancaster University Management School, maintains that the study’s results aren’t all that bullet proof. He says: “The research looks only at over-40s, and so cannot make the claim that over-40s are different from any other workers.

“What the authors find is that cognitive functioning improves up to the point at which workers work 25 hours a week and declines thereafter. Actually, at first the decline is very marginal, and there is not much of an effect as working hours rise to 35 hours per week. Beyond 40 hours per week, the decline is much more rapid.”

Put in plain terms, scientists don’t have a clear explanation of these findings, and no concrete link between the idea that working more than a 30-hour week has negative impacts on the brain’s cognitive functions.

What do you think, people? To me, it’s clear that people of a certain age aren’t suited to doing the same amount of work as they did 30 years ago. Do you agree? Leave thoughts in the comments box.

Would you appreciate a three day working week after the age of 40? Share this story if so and help us spread the message.