Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Overworking is bad for health and productivity and leads to missed time with family, studies say

Many American workers put in long hours and plenty of overtime—especially in rural areas where jobs in areas such as factories or health care often require employees to work more than eight hours in one day and more than 40 hours in a week. While the extra hours mean more money, being overworked can lead to health problems, poorer work performance and missing out on family events, according to recent studies, Christopher Ingraham reports for The Washington Post.

A Gallup poll of 1,271 adults 18 and older found that the average employee works 47 hours per week. The poll found that 18 percent of employees said they work 60 or more hours per week, 21 percent work 50-59 hours per week and 11 percent work 41-49 hours per week. (Gallup graphic)
The effects of overworking on health are dramatic, even just 9 hours in one day, with a 2004 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis saying "overtime was associated with poorer perceived general health, increased injury rates, more illnesses or increased mortality," Ingraham writes.

Productivity also suffers, with a 2014 Stanford study saying that "after about 55 hours of work in one week, productivity gains halt completely," Ingraham writes. "Any work you could do in 70 hours—or 100—you could also get done in 55."

The 2014 All State/National Poll found that while 76 percent of respondents said family take precedence over work, nearly 50 percent said they have gone into work sick, nearly 40 percent said they have missed personal experiences and more than 25 percent have missed family experiences due to the inability to get off work, Ingraham writes.

About 13 percent said they work different shifts than their spouse because they can't find child care, Ingraham writes. About 12 percent they have been punished for taking time off from work because of illness or to care for a family member, and about 8 percent said they have been fired for the same reason. Another 7 percent said they have left children with inadequate care because they had no other choice. (Read more)

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