Is working 12 hours a day healthy?
Updated: 4 days ago
Author: Aïcha Bakayoko
Date of Publication: 10/05/2023
It’s generally accepted that we all need to work in order to make money and live a decent lifestyle. So, when it comes to standard working hours, every country has its own limit. Overall, the standard working hours worldwide are between 40 and 44 hours per week. Thus, if the average is to work 40 to 44 hours per week it means working 8 to 9 hours a day. However, some people want or need to work longer and it can get up to 12+ hours per day which is a lot. This case happens a lot to summer or winter seasonal workers around the world and generally in Asian Pacific countries. But is working 12 hours a day healthy?
The positive impact of overworking
Depending on the sector you work in, 12 hours of work per day or more can be considered as normal. We can talk about jobs in driving, nursing, warehouse, etc.
This schedule brings some advantages, especially for employers. In fact, it can be beneficial for businesses that need 24-hour coverage. This is because it is easier to schedule and reduce miscommunication and variability between shifts. Additionally, 12-hour shift patterns mean fewer shift handover problems. This helps to minimize employee skill and cost variability. It also reduces absenteeism by allowing employees to take more time off and save on travel costs. Nevertheless, it must be said that there are many disadvantages too.
Negative impacts of overworking
1. Personal Life & Productivity
Working 12 hours a day affects your health considerably in all aspects. In particular, overworking means less personal time that is spent in the office or teleworking. As a result, this can lead to decreased productivity and socializing. In addition, studies have found that productivity is higher when working 40 hours a week than when working 50-60 hours. Furthermore, you usually don't have any time to spend with your relatives, meet new people, have hobbies, and relax which is a pity!
2. Physical & Mental Health
Working long shifts can be emotionally and physically exhausting leading to both physical and mental health issues. For example, it can cause burnout and chronic fatigue. This is especially true for night shift workers, who typically get two to four hours less sleep than usual (often leading to sleep disorders). Some studies even said that overworking can increase the risk of being overweight and obese.
Moreover, in healthcare, longer shifts can reduce empathy and diminish the standard of care provided. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) warn that 2 million people die each year due to work-related illnesses and accidents. What’s more, Non-communicable diseases cause around 81% of deaths, with chronic obstructive pulmonary, stroke, and heart disease. Lastly, occupational injuries (slips, trips, falls, road traffic,etc) cause 19% of deaths. So as you can see working long hours is a serious health hazard.
Working 12 hours a day is definitely not for everyone. If you can't even have a work-life balance by doing 7 or 8 hours a day, it will just harm you more than benefit you.
So, I think with that kind of schedule, you don't have time to relax and meet other people. But what is the point of overworking if you can enjoy your life? Of course, some manage to do it but they are few. Thus, if you want to work 12 hours a day or more, I'll advise you to think twice before doing so. Let's prioritize health over work! Don't you agree with me?
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