Today every organization or business wants to stay ahead of its competition and wants to be at the top position. For achieving this position, businesses are willing to sacrifice everything they have, whether it is money, sleep, or health. And this contribution is not limited to the heads of the organization but the same thing is expected from the employees as well, which is often curtailed down to measuring the impact of long working hours, and comparison amongst the employees. Company chiefs want employees to put in long hours, respond to their emails at all hours, and willingly donate their off-hours ( vacations, leaves or Sundays) without complaining.
Even though it is not mentioned before or at the time of joining employees are expected to stay in the office past their scheduled working hours. Most employees hate working for extended hours and are reluctant to follow the orders of their bosses as they don’t have any other option.
Impact of long working hours on health and your growth:
Some employees work overtime out of fear of job loss and there are others who want to be admired for their work ethics and an example to be followed. However, while your efforts are being praised by your employers, it’s taking a hefty toll on your body. Long working hours might benefit the organization and can help you grow within the organization but all this achievement comes at the cost of your health. Learn how Scandinavian countries are setting the benchmark for corporates, across the globe.
Studies have shown that working for long hours can have a negative effect on your body. Long working hours mean prolonged sitting in your office chair staring at your computer. These lengthy periods of sedentary behaviour are blameworthy for the deterioration of your mental as well as physical health.
Increased Fatigue due to impact of long working hours
When you work over a long period of time then fatigue sets in your body and you experience sleepiness, weariness, poor concentration, irritability and increased susceptibility to illness. These symptoms hinder your productivity which in turn hinders the growth of the organization.
Giving quality breaks, or shorter working weeks have proven to be a medium to generate higher efficiency from the employees. As we ingress into the future, wellness at workplace is going to be one of the major focus for employees and employers.
Working for long hours make your life stressful and you feel exhausted all day long. The more you try to show you are a passionate and productive team player at work, the more you forget about your diet, exercise, and family. And when you do not give time to yourself, you will feel more stressed and this can have a bad impact on you as well as your near and dear ones.
Neglected social life
Maintaining a healthy social life is onerous when you work 60 or more hours a week. Staying all day long in the office reduces your time with friends and family, thereby reducing the quality of your life. Spending time with your family is important as they are going to be there for you always, even if the company stops caring about you.
Risk of obesity
Prolonged sitting results in higher risks of obesity. When you are committed to delivering your work on time, it is difficult to stay away from your seat or your computer. This lack of physical activity increases your weight as the eatables you consume during the working hours will not be digested properly and this will be accumulated as fat in your body.
Bad physical and mental health: An impact of long working hours
Studies carried out by Marianna Virtanen of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and her colleagues (as well as other studies) have found that working for long hours and the resulting stress can lead to a large number of health problems, including impaired sleep, depression, heavy drinking, diabetes, impaired memory, and heart disease. (1)
Overcoming the ill-effects of a sedentary lifestyle
The impact of long working hours on the human body can be negative however it can be reduced by the combined efforts of both the employers and their employees.
- Do not sit for long hours, take regular breaks and instead of sending an email, stand up and go talk to the manager or your colleagues.
- Go for a walk at lunchtime and instead of using the elevators or lifts, aim to take the stairs. Switch between sitting and standing at your desk, and try to do this after every 15-30 minutes.
- Employers must prompt their employees to eat healthily and inform them about the negative health effects of prolonged sitting.
- When the workload increases employers must give them time to refresh and rejuvenate after getting the work done. You can give them compensatory offs and can take the team for a short outing.
- Introducing corporate wellness programmes in organizations can help employees work better and become more productive.
Considerable evidence shows that regardless of our reasons for working long hours, overwork does not help us. Microsoft recently experimented with a four-day workweek in Japan and witnessed a 40% surge in productivity. This can be implemented in other countries as well. This would be beneficial for both the employees and the organization.
Check out our blog on the benefits a corporate can reap by implementing corporate wellness program measures at workplace.