You shouldn’t work more than these number of hours each week

Research shows that working more than 40 hours a week can be devastating for your health.


Independent researchers and various organisations have shared results of studies that looked at the physical, mental, emotional and social effects of employees working beyond the standard 40 hours a week.

The study finds that working more than 10 hours a day is associated with a 60 per cent increase in risk of cardiovascular issues caused by stress and that hormonal balances created through stress can raise cortisol, which can disrupt sleep, appetite, blood pressure, immune system function, memory/cognition, mood, and more.

As far as mental health is concerned, individuals working 11 hours or more of overtime are at a high risk of suffering from depression and 10 per cent of those working 50 to 60 hours report relationship problems; the rate increases to 30 per cent for those working more than 60 hours.

Working more than 40 hours a week is also associated with increased alcohol and tobacco consumption, as well as unhealthy weight gain in men and depression in women.

Data from companies with high overtime showed that 54 per cent of their workforce had absentee rates higher than 9 per cent.

The risk of injuries is also higher for those working longer hours. Working for 60 hours per week can lead to a 23 per cent higher injury hazard rate.

In companies with an 8.7 per cent overtime rate, researchers found no fatigue-related problems. When the overtime rate was 12.4 per cent, however, signs of fatigue-related problems were present, but remained minor. At 54 per cent overtime, fatigue-related problems were severe.

Working for long hours not only has a negative impact on employee health, but also on productivity, which means that it is not beneficial for companies to have long working days.

People working in manufacturing industries are likely to show a 2.4 per cent decrease in productivity with a 10 per cent increase in overtime, while for employees in white collar jobs, productivity decline reached as much as 25 per cent when workers put in 60 hours or more.