Working from nine to five may be the norm, but it’s never been a picnic. Seriously, did you ever perk up on a Sunday night and think, “Wahoo! Tomorrow I get to start racking up another forty hours!” Of course not, because putting in forty hours (or forty hours plus) a week isn’t for sissies. If it were, we wouldn’t need weekends and vacations to recuperate.
But the news gets worse. Researchers recently turned up some pretty crazy consequences related to long hours and cognitive performance.
Let’s be honest: nobody is really a fan of the five-day work week. But if you want a reason to work less, science has your back. If you’re over the age of 40, at least.
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 researchers came to this conclusion after following 3,000 male and 3,500 female volunteers, Newser explained. During the study, researchers asked the participants to complete cognitive tests and analyzed their work habits, memory, executive reasoning, and abstract reasoning.
The cognitive tests included asking the volunteers to read text backwards, read words aloud, and match numbers and letters under time pressure. As HuffPost explained, the participants’ cognitive performance improved as the researchers increased their working hours up to 25 hours. However, after 25 hours the researchers found that performance began to decline in both the male and female volunteers.
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.”