Long working hours can take a hefty toll on the mental and physical health of a person. Excessive working hours in a week has a negative impact on worker’s health which includes the risk of hypertension, sleep disturbance, chronic infection, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, anxiety and depression. According to a study, long working hours also resulted in sudden deaths due to cardiovascular diseases in middle-aged employees. The Japanese have termed such deaths with ‘karoshi’ which means ‘death from overwork’.
According to a study published in the ‘Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health’ men who worked on all or most weekends had 3.4% more depression symptoms than those males who did not work on weekends while the percentage was higher among females, 4.6%.
Extended working timings are one of the reasons that contribute to mental illness. “Mental health issues in the workplace have far more serious after effects not just on the individual alone but also on the productivity of the organization. As per a study published in January 2012 in PLoS ONE, people who work more than 11 hours in a day double up their chances of depression as compared to employees who contribute 8 hours a day. Long working timings ultimately affects sleep and relax time. Mental ill health is responsible for major long-term issues and sickness in the working population. Bad job performance, sleep disturbance, high rates of absenteeism, decreased quality of life are the major reasons which are correlated to reduced sleep quality,” says – Dr Sujit Paul,MD, Stayhappi pharmacy.
Irregular work timings have an adverse effect on a person’s cognitive abilities. It was also found that employees who work for varying shifts instead of fixed hours can suffer from cognitive impairment. The visible symptoms include trouble in remembering, learning new things and decision-making power which affects daily life. Also, if they shift to regular workday can help in resolving the ill-effects of shift work.
How employees can bring change in their office lifestyle to curb with the mental illness? Dr Sujit suggests some measures:
Taking regular breaks is of immense help
Limit the intake of caffeine
Eat your lunch away from your workstation
Regular exercise at the start of day or meditation can work wonders
Learn to say ‘no’
It is crucial to seek help and guidance if anxiety and depressive symptoms are affecting employee’s ability to perform well on a daily basis. There are stress treatment and anxiety treatment options for the ones who are dealing with it.