Our jobs help fund our lives and pay for our healthy lifestyles, but sometimes we find ourselves in a conundrum where we’re working so hard that it causes health problems. A new large-scale study published in medical journal The Lancet now shows that those who work longer hours – specifically, more than 55 hours per week – may find themselves with a significantly increased risk of stroke. Additionally, those who find themselves working more than 55 hours per week are also at an increased risk for other cardiovascular problems like coronary heart disease, which is Australia’s most common cause of death.
Study: The Lancet
While these new findings may be surprising to some, this is not the first time that the medical community has looked into the medical effects of long working hours, a measurable indicator of elevated long-term stress levels. Previous research has examined the relationship between working up to 70 hours/week and the incidence of coronary heart disease, and found that those who followed this hectic routine had a 42% higher risk of developing heart problems compared to those who worked 40 hours/week or less.
Full article: Medical News Today
So, we’ve seen that there may be an exponential connection between working progressively longer hours and your risk of developing cardiovascular problems. If the latest research is any guide, the more overtime you do each week, the greater the effect:
- Individuals working between 41-48 hours a week had a 10% increased risk of stroke
- Individuals working between 49-54 hours a week had a 27% increased risk of stroke.
- Individuals working 55 hours a week or more had a 33% increased risk of stroke.
In fact, even when other factors like smoking, alcohol, and physical activity were taken into account, these increased risk statistics still held true.
So what does this mean for your company? For one, monitor closely how much overtime your employees are working. When your employees start sacrificing their health for their work, then it may be time to reevaluate how much work they’re being given or how that work is getting completed. Put policies in place that protect your employees from working overtime on a continual basis.
To negate these effects, consider some of our Wellness Workshops that can help employees manage their personal and work lives, as striking a balance is the key to maintaining a healthy heart. HSG offers workshops on maintaining Work / Life Balance.