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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 October 20, 2019

The Lifehack Show Episode 10: Dealing With Burnt Out Bosses

The Lifehack Show Episode 10: Dealing With Burnt Out Bosses
In this episode of The Lifehack Show, we speak with Vicky Oliver on the topic of burnout, particularly among bosses. She talks about not only how to spot burnout in the workplace, but exactly how to handle it in various different scenarios.
Vicky is a career development expert and the bestselling author of five books, including Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers and Other Office Idiots.

    Episode 10: Dealing With Burnt Out Bosses
    Also available on iTunes and YouTube

    Featured photo credit: Hunters Race via unsplash.com

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