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Working one day a week is enough to keep our mental health in check

Anastasia Santoreneos
One day working weeks are all we need to boost our mental health. Source: Getty
One day working weeks are all we need to boost our mental health. Source: Getty

There’s a correlation between not having paid work and a decrease in your mental health.

But, a new study by sociologists at Cambridge and Salford universities has found that the risk of mental health problems reduced by a whopping 30 per cent when people moved from unemployment to eight hours of work.

What’s interesting is that the findings showed no evidence that working more than eight hours provided further boosts to mental health.

The research, which surveyed more than 70,000 UK residents between 2009 and 2018, was conducted amid rising concerns that automation technology like AI would lead to shorter working hours for everyone.

“We know unemployment is often detrimental to people’s wellbeing, negatively affecting identity, status, time use, and sense of collective purpose,” co-author of the research, Brendan Burchell, said.

“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.”

Given automation could lead to job redundancies, co-author, Daiga Kamerade, said we’d need to rethink current norms going forward.

“This should include the redistribution of working hours, so everyone can get the mental health benefits of a job, even if that means we all work much shorter weeks.”

The study reinforces that the reduction of working hours could have some big benefits for people’s mental health and wellbeing.

It follows research that found working a four-day work week could combat climate change.

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