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You’ll Be Much More Productive Yet Relaxed Once You Realize This Human Limit

You’ll Be Much More Productive Yet Relaxed Once You Realize This Human Limit

Employees that work long hours in the office are not uncommon. In fact, a Gallup poll[1] found that in the United States, an average full-time employee works 47 hours in a week, several hours in excess of the regular 40-hour week. It was also found that almost one in five workers work 60 hours or more each week. What is the effect of this? Stress and burnout. Is it worth working long hours in the office and is there a payoff? No. Our advice: Do not let too much work lead to stress and burnout. Working longer hours is not only bad for our health, but also detrimental for our careers because it affects how productive we are.In Japan, “karoshi” or death due to overworking does happen. In a report,[2] it was released that almost one in four (23%) Japanese companies have workers that work over 80 hours of overtime per month.Why does working too much give us diminshed returns?

It is bad for you physically.

Heart problems are not uncommon for people that put in too many hours at work. A study,[3] released that long working hours may cause raised blood pressure, unhealthy diet, and stress. A combination of these may cause serious health problems.The researchers put together various results from studies and came up with a conclusion that working too long hours in the office resulted in a 40 to 80 percent greater chance of heart disease compared to a regular 8-hour work day.

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It makes you depressed.

Employees that work long hours are at a risk for depression. In a new study,[4] it was revealed that employees who work over 11 hours in a day have at least a double risk of a major depressive episode than employees who work the regular 7-8 hours in a day.

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It affects you mentally and cognitively.

Someone that works long hours has a tendency to be less productive. This is because employees that work more than the regular 8-hour workday have a tendency to have cognitive issues. A study[5] had found out that participants that worked more than 55 hours per week had lower scores on vocabulary tests than those that worked 40 hours or less in a week. There was also a major drop in the particiants’ fluid intelligence in between the tests.

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What you should do

Do use your vacation days and avoid working more than the regular 8 hours in a day. The negative effect of overworking could greatly hinder your productivity and in turn affect your work in general. If it affects your work, then it affects the productivity of the company too. A Stanford University study[6] found that employee output goes down after 50 hours per week and dives down even more after 56 hours. Similar studies have found that there is a relation between overwork and absenteeism, impaired decision-making skills and long-term memory loss.In a separate report from the US-based campaign Project: Time Off[7] found out that long-working office martyrs were less likely than their peers to have received a bonus in the last three years. After all, which company would give a bonus to an employee that is always absent because of sickness, always mentally and physically tired, and not productive? Overall if you limit your work week to 40 hours you will be more done and be physically and mentally healthy.

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Reference

More by this author

Sarah Bonander

Writer, Human Resources Professional

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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