Do you invest a lot of extra time in your job? Do you often have to stretch your normal office day beyond eight hours? Does your weekly workload far exceed the 40 hours that usually make up a typical working week? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship with work. According to the results of a recent American study, such a work schedule is not without consequences for your health.
The data that led to the conclusion about the potentially harmful effects of a busy work schedule were taken from a survey conducted among 10,793 Americans. The study aimed to obtain information on the different jobs, work schedules and sick leaves of the people participating in the survey. The results revealed a 61% increase in the risk of work-related injuries among people with long overtime work schedules. More specifically, the researchers found that a workday of twelve hours or more increased the risk of injury or illness by 37%, while a weekly workload above 60 hours was associated with a 23% increase in the risk of various injuries. These results are consistent across all occupations, whether working directly with machinery or in an administrative office environment.
These results indicate that this phenomenon is secondary to fatigue or accumulated stress; however, they don’t rule out other plausible hypotheses. Further studies will be needed to pinpoint the cause of this drastic increase in accidents beyond a certain number of working hours.
Nevertheless, the data presented in this study are substantial enough to provoke a reflection regarding your work habits. Workers with busy weeks should consider fine-tuning their routines and incorporating various preventive measures. Simply restructuring your work schedule to include rest periods, or better still, asking management for help with additional employees, are potential solutions that can positively impact your quality of life and overall health.