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  1. ITV Report

Working just one day a week may boost mental health

The researchers used data from a panel survey to examine how changes in working hours were linked to mental health Credit: ITV Anglia

Just one day of work per week is the most "effective dose" for a mental health boost, according to University of Cambridge research.

A study suggests that the risk of mental health problems reduces by 30 percent when people move from unemployment or stay-at-home parenting into paid work of eight hours or less per week.

However, researchers at the universities of Cambridge and Salford found no evidence that working any more than eight hours gives further boosts to wellbeing.

"This high-quality study...suggests that reduction of working hours can have benefits for people's mental health and well-being. If this is to be adopted in policy then some caution is required to ensure that any reduction in hours is adopted equally across the workforce and that the psychosocial quality of the working environment is maintained"

– Dr Jed Boardman, Lead for Social Inclusion at the Royal College of Psychiatrists

The researchers suggested creative policy options, including five-day weekends, working just two hours a day, or increasing annual holiday from weeks to months. They even proposed having two months off for every month at work.