Personal chef and APPCA member Anne Blankenship

We always say that one of the benefits of being a personal chef is creating your own work parameters. Over the years we’ve had members who chose this profession after exhausting hours spent on restaurant kitchen lines.

Well, chefs over age 40 might want to consider cutting back their work days to three a week, based on the findings in a 2016 Australian study. They found that workers performed better if they were only on the job three days a week, noting that working for more than 25 hours a week resulted in fatigue and stress for most middle-aged participants.

The study, published in the Melbourne Institute Worker Paper series, asked 3,500 women and 3,000 men (aged 40 and over) to complete cognitive tests while their work habits were analyzed, according to HuffPost.

Data for the study was drawn from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey, which is conducted by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economics and Social Research at the University of Melbourne. It looks at people’s economic and subjective well-being, family structures, and employment. Those taking part were asked to read words aloud, to recite lists of numbers backwards and to match letters and numbers under time pressure.

Researchers found that cognitive performance improved as the working week increased up to 25 hours. After that, performance declined for both men and women. Study subjects who worked 55 hours a week demonstrated cognitive results worse than those who were retired or unemployed.

“Work can be a double-edged sword, in that it can stimulate brain activity, but at the same time, long working hours and certain types of tasks can cause fatigue and stress which potentially damage cognitive functions,” the report said.

Colin McKenzie, professor of economics at Keio University who took part in the research, said it would appear that working extremely long hours was more damaging than not working at all on brain function.

BBC News, however, interviewed Geraint Johnes, professor of economics at Lancaster University Management School, who said: “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.”He added: “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.”

Some APPCA chefs already have adopted this approach. “I managed my clients so that I had three-day work weeks except for one week each month-that was a four in a row week,” said Dallas-based Anne Blankenship. “Worked great for me.”

Tori Scaccia agrees. “Yes. Worked for me and paid Sous chef very well,” she said.

But that’s not how chef Christina Hamilton Snow sees it. “Not a reality for personal or private chefs,” she said.

Are you over 40? What do you think about this study’s results and recommendation?

Not an APPCA member? Now’s the perfect time to join! Go to personalchef.com to learn about all the benefits that come with membership.

And if you are a member and have a special talent to share on this blog, let us know so we can feature you!

 

Be Sociable, Share!

Last updated by at .