If reality has set in that you're going to miss out on many of life's moments as you work until you've outlived your usefulness or are replaced by a robot, here's some good news that might give you brief hope before you realize nobody in any sort of position of power ever takes these things seriously.
According to some scientists in Britain, an eight hour work week is the "recommended dose" for a workers' wellbeing...not that that's something any bosses actually care about. The study, which came from researchers at the University of Cambridge and the University of Salford, was published on Tuesday and sought to establish a schedule that would optimize the mental health of employees. Oh, and speaking of robots, the study was put together because the researchers believe that companies are going to have to "rethink [the] current norms" of a work week because of the rise of automation.
To come up with their conclusion, researchers looked at the unbreakable link that tethers your mental health to the amount of time you work and how satisfied you are with your life. They did this over a...whoa...nine-year period with 71,000 working age people in Britain. Those who participated had their mental health analyzed after they were asked about often-work related issues, like anxiety and sleep deprivation. Echoing a line we already wrote above, they found that the "most effective dose" for their subjects' best mental health was roughly one day per week.
While you might think that something that would be even better than eight hours per week is, say, no hours per week, you'd be incorrect according to these researchers. After all, they also found that those who segued from no job to the working world had their risk of mental health problems slashed by 30 percent as they found employment of about eight hours per week. In keeping with the theme that that's the magic number, increasing the eight-hour per week total didn't provide any added mental health benefits.
Digging deeper into the numbers, researchers said women acquired greater life satisfaction with a longer work week. They said that men's life satisfaction (which, it should be noted, is self-reported) increased when they worked eight hours per week. However, women didn't feel a comparable increase until they were working 20 hours per week.
In what would appear to be a routine example of wishful thinking, authors of the study recommended that the standard work week should be chopped down so that available work could be reallocated and shared to those who may not be working, and to ease the burden on those who work too much. They added to that suggestion by saying a five-day weekend should be considered, and that vacations should be significantly longer. They also pondered whether people should just work a few hours per day. They said that, in this hypothetical utopia, workers would be far more productive and carbon emissions would be reduced because people wouldn't be commuting as much.
Though, again, those are issues that captains of industry have never seem to be all that concerned about.