What’s going on:
Health researchers at The University of South Australia found that a shorter work week directly contributes to less burnout, stress and improved mental health in the workplace.
According to Professor Carol Maher, a Senior Researcher at UniSA, “This study provides empirical evidence that people have healthier lifestyle patterns when they have a short break, such as a three-day weekend. This increase in physical activity and sleep is expected to have positive effects on both mental and physical health, contributing to the benefits observed with a four-day workweek.”
Health researchers evaluated the daily activities of individuals before, during, and after they took holidays. Across the 13 month-study, individuals usually took two to three holidays, averaging about 12 days each. The most popular types of holidays reported in the study were “outdoor recreation” (35%), “family/social events” (31%), “rest and relaxation” (17%) and “non-leisure pursuits” such as looking after others or home renovations (17%).
Why it matters:
According to UniSA’s researchers like Professor Maher, the shorter working week is being experimented with by companies all over the globe. The study revealed that people gained an extra 21 minutes of sleep every day that they were on a holiday, engaged in 13% more moderate-to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (or five minutes per day more), were five percent less sedentary (pr 29 min per day less), and slept four percent more each day (or 21 min per day more).
How it’ll impact the future:
Research related to shorter work weeks may contribute to larger trends in the workplace as some employers consider adopting new work schedules.
“As the world adapts to a new normal, perhaps it’s time to embrace the long weekend as a way to boost our physical and mental health,” said Professor Maher.