Do you regularly work more than 55 hours a week? Have you considered the impact that it is having on you?  

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*In 2021 the World health organisation stated that those who work 55 hours or more per week  are increasing their likelihood of death caused by heart disease and strokes. Shockingly that translates to a 35% higher risk of stroke and 17% higher risk of fatal heart disease compared to those who work 35-40 hours.  

We seem to know this, and yet we continue to work these long hours. Why? Do we really feel that by being the last person in the office or responding to an email at 11pm will have a lasting impact on anything other than our health?   

Is it just the increased risk of a stoke or heart disease?  

Unfortunately not, working excessive hours on a regular basis has also been shown to cause depression, **People who work more than 49 hours per week are twice as likely to experience depression and anxiety compared to those working 40 hours or less. Which in turn has an effect on sleeping habits and can cause sleep deprivation leading to fatigue, impaired cognitive function and a weakened immune system.   

And if that isn’t enough of a reason to reduce your working hours, you could also be causing musculoskeletal disorders including, neck, back and shoulder pain.  

As we often say to our clients, in a few years the only people to remember how many hours you have worked will be your children, and maybe your broader family. Viewed another way, if something happened to you, would it be the equivalent of a cup of water being taken out of the ocean, where life would move on and the vacuum you left be quickly filled? 

It may be wiser to reduce your working hours as much as possible, ensuring that you have the ability to enjoy the job you do by taking a step back. The most effective people have been shown to focus on their priorities and avoid getting caught up in too many day-to-day issues which should be delegated or avoided. Stepping back will reduce your health and emotional wellbeing risks but also provide you with the opportunity to be more productive, reduce the risk of burnout and allow you to make better decisions.  

At the end of the working day, don’t measure your day by the items ticked off on your to do list, measure your day by the impact you had and the number of valuable conversations you engaged in.   

*World Health Organisation 

**Occupational Medicine study on long working hours and mental health 

Author Naomi Fenn-Mansfield

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