Overtime Can Kill you. Really.
Everyone thinks it’s okay, that it’s part of being a dedicated employee. Bosses only recognize true dedication if an employee spends more than 9 hours in the office. But is the extra pay or the recognition really worth it?
Many studies have been made to determine the correlation between overtime worked and decline in health—and many have arrived at conclusive results. In 2016, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston studied 1,900 participants in a long-term follow-up study of work and health. The researchers wanted to find out if working more than 45 hours per week (9 hours per weekday) takes a bad toll on the individual. The results? Very much so.
The study found that people who worked 55 hours a week (11 hours per weekday) were 16 percent more susceptible to cardiovascular disease. Those who worked 60 hours a week (12 hours per weekday) had a scary 35 percent increased risk to cardiovascular diseases compared to those working normal hours.
Just to drill the point even further, these cardiovascular events that you could be more susceptible to experiencing include coronary heart disease or heart failure, heart attack, high blood pressure, or even stroke. Yes, you could be exposing yourself to all of these dangers just by working those extra hours. And it’s been proven by experts as well that productivity is not linear. This means that the more hours you spend working does not directly translate to more work done.
Our bodies get tired, burned out, and unhappy over time. And overworking it without ample rest or good food degrades its productivity. This means that if you are able to finish 80 pages of report in 8 hours, for example, adding 2 hours overtime won’t guarantee you 20 more pages. At most, you’ll probably do 10 because your body and mind are past their optimum productivity levels. Your output then becomes costlier since you accomplish less at a costlier overtime pay and the same amount of office resources.
Making time for yourself, to recover through sleep or to rest your body by hanging out with your friends or your dog, does not make you any less productive of a person. You owe the rest to your body. You owe that time to yourself after giving 100 percent of your energy at work. Sometimes, we think that we really must do those extra hours. We think we can alleviate the effects of the stress and the overwork by exercising, doing meditation, eating good food. But then, who would have time to do all those wellness shenanigans if you’re too busy crunching extra hours at work?
It’s an evil cycle. You work more, you’re stressed more, so you think you can cope by spending an hour at the gym or at the spa. But then because all your time goes to your overtime anyway, you end up too tired to go to the gym or out of time to visit the spa. And because you’re churning out so much work, your boss thinks you can manage it and leaves all the work to you—or maybe even more! So you’re left with a body that’s needing its rest and relaxation, more work, and no time to really do anything else.
Is this how you’d like to live your life? A slave to your workplace? Maybe not. So think again and give yourself the extra years by doing overtime responsibly.