The working day is a constant topic of discussion, but one man has made his case for the ideal work-rest ratio, capitalising on how the body reacts the best to that delicate balance. 

In the late 19th century, the average workweek for full-time manufacturing employees in the United State was 100 hours, while in the UK the average working day ran for between 10 and 16 hours, six days a week.

It wasn't until October 24, 1940, that the eight-hour day and 40-hour work week became standard in many industries across the US, with other countries making similar moves around the world. 

Now the norm for the majority of jobs, switching off from work has become more difficult as smartphones and the constant presence of emails means work is only ever a notification away. 

The length of the workday doesn't matter as much as the way the day is structured

Naturally, more people are trying to find ways to work more efficient while still reaping the benefits of the time off we long for. 

Dr. Travis Bradberry, co-author Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and President of TalentSmart, an agency specialising in emotional intelligence tests and certification, has claimed to have worked out the ideal work-rest ratio. 

According to his LinkedIn post, Bradberry claims that "The ideal work-to-break ratio was 52 minutes of work, followed by 17 minutes of rest", adding that "people who maintained this schedule had a unique level of focus in their work". 

Drawing from a study carried out by the Draugiem Group, which used a computer application to track employees’ work habits, Bradberry says that the length of the workday mattered far less than the way people structured their days. 

The logic is that prolonged working is less efficient than switching from rest and work, which allows your brain to recharge after completing tasks or to refocus if thinking something through. 

Giving your brain a break every hour can lead to greater efficiency

By allowing yourself almost an hour of undivided focused work, workers can be "100% dedicated to the task they needed to accomplish", he wrote. 

Anyone who remembers studying for the Leaving Cert or college exams might recall the study trick of an hour on, 15 minutes off. This is believed by many experts to be the best way of hacking your brain and working in the most efficient way. 

After an hour of focused activity, the brain wants a little break and - you guessed it - this is why we drift to Facebook, Instagram and endlessly scrolling through Twitter. 

Bradberry suggests that people should make the most of this quirk of the brain, writing "Instead of working for an hour or more and then trying to battle through distractions and fatigue, when your productivity begins to dip, take this as a sign that it’s time for a break".