In today’s competitive job market, it’s not uncommon for recruiters to clearly state that while daily work schedules are from 8 am to 5 pm, employees are expected to put in more hours as occasion demands.
Hence, most employers consider logging several hours of overtime every week as a sign of hard work and an example to follow. However, clocking more than 55 hours per week at work can affect your mental health, creating enormous stress more than you can handle.
Working long hours daily or at weekends takes its toll on five critical areas as discussed below.
Increased work hours and working on weekends can create depressive symptoms due to the lack of downtime and increased pressures. According to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, men who worked all or most weekends had 3.4% more symptoms of depression than men who didn’t work weekends. Similarly, women who worked weekends experienced 4.6% more depressive symptoms than their counterparts who didn’t work weekends.
The study showed a correlation between working hours and depression, as the more weekend’s people worked, the more likely they were to report experiencing depression. It also revealed that they were less satisfied with their work due to the lack of downtime to refuel their mental and physical energy.
- Work/life imbalance
Increased work hours means less time spent with family and friends, and this could possibly impact the support system. Spending quality time with family and friends is an essential part of feeling fulfilled and satisfied at work. Since people can only be in one place at a time, working long hours or at weekends means employees are missing something equally important – family time. In effect, they may be making more money, which is for their family’s financial benefit; they’re also losing precious time, which is likely to affect their family in other ways. This could result in other problems at home as they may become irritable toward them when they do have time off.
- Physical health
Working long hours can affect an employee’s health in several ways. For example, clocking more than 55 hours every week means they’re likely sitting in their office chair staring and staring at their computer for long hours. This could negatively affect their health as research suggests that people who are sedentary for more than 13 hours a day are twice as likely to die as people who are inactive for 11.5 hours. Some researchers believe sitting for too long is equally harmful as smoking as it can increase the risk of other health issues like obesity, back pain, and heart problems.
Going further, longer working hours means employees get little (or no time) to focus on their physical health and may even lead to excessive alcohol consumption and drug abuse among individuals who feel dissatisfied about their jobs. Additionally, it may also lead to sleep deprivation, which may result in weight gain, increased stress, and fatigue.
- Apathy for the job
While burning the midnight oil at work can lead to adverse health effects, which can lead to loss of career opportunities, apathy for the job can also negatively affect performance at work. Refusal to work longer than necessary and at weekends may cause in lack of recognition since most employers consider those who work long hours to have a great work ethic. This could impact an employee’s morale at work, which will also affect their productivity due to low energy levels and an inability to concentrate as well as think creatively. As a result, the individual may feel dissatisfied with their job, which can be frustrating.
- Work habits deteriorate
Working long hours can also make certain habits deteriorate, leading to loss of productivity. Examples of such working habits that may worsen include punctuality, positive attitude, politeness, early submission of projects, and so on. Worsening work habits can negatively impact the amount of work done, as well as how the work is completed.
While working overtime might mean extra income and appear to be a blessing, it has some several disadvantages which can affect your health and quality of life. It may earn you some praises from your bosses for your work ethic, but it comes which a hefty price tag as explained above, which you need to also consider.