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Charlie Mullins: Three-day working weeks for over 40s is ridiculous suggestion

Australians are renowned for being a relaxed race, whose primary interests include wearing board shorts, drinking beers, and barbecuing prawns.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that a bunch of academics from the University of Melbourne, in this slacker country, have come up with some research that says that over 40s shouldnt work more than three days a week.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say these jokers are all in their fifth decade, and getting the phone answered in their lab on a Thursday morning is a very long odds bet.

I can’t speak for the antipodes, but from the point of view of someone running a business in London I have to say, what a load of complete rubbish.

The Aussies say that by working less than 25 hours a week over 40s can keep their brains working, but avoid stress and exhaustion. Seriously is anyone buying this load of old pony

I’m sure this is all fine and dandy in a laboratory situation where you can knock off work for an endless second life of barbecued seafood and cold beverages. But, in the real world, what the hell are you supposed to do for the other half of the working week And how are you going to pay the bills

Throw in the counterfactual of the stress and worry at trying to support your family on half the money and then tell me this stupid experiment has any merit.

And how the hell am I supposed to run a business where all of the experienced people are part-timers I wonder if these geniuses have any experience of the real world

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So, you spend years training people, and helping them acquire business sense and practical skills, and then, just as they are in a position to utilise all that they have learned, I’m supposed to put them on half hours

There are so many things wrong with this research I’m struggling to know where to go next. But it’s fairly obvious that investing in training would go out the window, or at the very least workers would become like footballers coming to the ends of their careers as their clubs try desperately to get them off the books.

By about the age of 32 people will start wondering if it’s worth hiring a person, much the same way as people over 50 feel the deck is stacked against them currently.

And what of people like my PA Mario, 75, a man who handles my entire private office, and my driver, “young” Eric, who is in his 82nd year These two, and the 50 per cent of my workforce who are past their 40th birthdays, I know would disagree with any suggestion that they should pack in full-time working for the “easy life”.

In fact I’m sure they would all find such a suggestion extremely stressful.

I’m no university researcher, which I think is a lucky thing for my workers, but quite clearly the answer to stress and tiredness at work is to make the working environment better, which is what we’re constantly striving to do at Pimlico Plumbers.

We have an onsite canteen with a chef knocking up daily specials from fresh tuna steaks and meatballs to burger special day on Friday with a choice of chicken or prime beef!

We also have flexible working hours for those who need them and of course there’s the Pimlico Fit Club Gym, personal trainer, James Dean, and the weekly massage at work sessions.

We all need to work and we all need to look after our health, and there’s no reason why the two can’t go together.

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