Why Overworking Is Bad For Your Health (And Who's to Blame)
As handy as the Internet and our mobile devices are, they often mean that we are seldom “unplugged.” We work hard at the office; finish a tough project, head for home, and a many of the issues follow us.
Working overtime has become the norm for many people. It's one of those things everyone knows is bad for us, but we do it anyway. The challenge is that overtime is bad for employees, employers, AND business.
HOW OVERWORK HURTS YOUR HEALTH - It can:
- Keep you from getting enough sleep
- Prevent you from keeping good habits
- Hurt your heart
- Cause heavy drinking
- Increase the risk of Type 2 Diabetes
- Overall our mental state can have a huge impact on how our body feels.
HOW IT HURTS YOUR BUSINESSAvoidable mistakes are made. When people are exhausted, everything in the office becomes more difficult including interpersonal communication, judgment, understanding others and managing their own emotional reactions. These can spell workplace disaster.
Significant drop in productivity after 8 hours. (at 9 hours fatigue and fuzzy thinking take over.) Employees may miss a critical deadline because they are just too tired to make it work. One study showed that employers can’t tell the difference between people who actually work 80 hrs. a week and those who pretend to.
People lose sight of the bigger picture (why we’re doing this) and get lost in a myriad of details. Breaks and time with our friends and loved ones can recharge our brains and engage clear thinking.
WHO’S TO BLAME?
Bosses? They often expect their people to work long days and be available 24/7 – sometimes even on vacation. (What about that smartphone?) They are usually working crazy hours themselves and feel it’s okay to expect the same from their people.
Ourselves? Most of us put the pressure on ourselves in order to prove something to ourselves and others. We feel needed, important, and are demonstrating our commitment to our work. Working long hours can feel rewarding even if we feel stressed, mad, or unwell.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
The answer is simple and perhaps not easy. Notice how you feel. If work is interfering with your physical, mental or emotional health, it’s time to think of another way to get things done.
- Examine your priorities.
- Enlist help.
There is always a way to make things better. It's your choice.
Ann Meacham is president of Leadership Dynamics. Check out her Leadership Coaching Program or Dynamic Leader Program on her website or email: firstname.lastname@example.org