Dubai: Productivity at work has been the subject of many international studies, with many highlighting how people are only productive for a certain number of hours and not the full workday. But, what is the ideal balance?

Dr Zubair Edakkavil, a specialist physician at Mediclinic Welcare Hospital in Dubai, explained that the amount of productive hours depends on several factors, including gender, age, type of the work and the work environment.

He said: “Generally, people get fatigued after three to four hours of continuous work. But, the stamina can be regained after a short rest.”

In his opinion, for a productive workforce, the ideal balance during the working week should be typically eight hours of sleep, eights hours of work, and eight hours of personal time, “which includes time for family, exercise and entertainment”.

He said: “Studies have shown that long working hours can cause depression, hypertension, coronary heart disease and diabetes. Also, it can affect fertility.”

Dr Deepa Sankar, clinical psychologist at NMC speciality hospital in Dubai, explained that an individual requires high energy and glucose levels to be able to focus properly on a task. The duration of concentration varies, depending on other factors, especially one’s motivation levels.

She said: “If you have a target to achieve, you would be motivated to complete it based on the reward at the end.”

However, this could vary based on the person’s age. Dr Sankar stated that as people grow older, their ability to focus and maintain their attention increases. Even children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) experience neural development as they grow older. So, if they are diagnosed early, they can flourish in their careers later on in life.

Dr Sankar said: “On a daily basis, someone doing complicated work or analysis might need to continue focusing on a task for longer, maybe three to four hours of continuous work. But, a person can focus completely for maybe 30-45 minutes, again depending on their motivation. If you’re reading a good book, for instance, you will want to finish and stay focused throughout.”

However, if someone has a monotonous job, he or she should take a 10-minute break after two hours of sitting down, states Dr Sankar. They could walk around, drink some water and just “refresh their mind”.