Listen to your Heart: How Overworking can be Hurting your Health

Productivity, Workplace

By Madison Knopik:

Did you know overworking could be harming your heart and health? In recent years, researchers have found that working long hours is linked to a variety of health issues. A multitude of these issues can affect your heart. Learn more about why working long hours is affecting your health:

Signs You’re Overworking

For a long time, employees have been putting their work before their health, but at what cost? If you’re overworking, you may be experiencing one or more of these symptoms:

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Fatigue

Signs of fatigue show up in a number of ways, including lack of energy, continued exhaustion, and feelings of dread or apprehension. Losing a night or two of sleep will leave you tired for a day while feeling overworked can disrupt your sleep cycle and have you feeling tired for more than a week.

Sickness

Another sign you might be overworking yourself can be if you or an employee is constantly sick. The stress of overworking can often lead to a compromised immune system, which leads to an increased likelihood of contracting an illness.

Forgetfulness

Are you suffering from a lack of focus or having trouble staying concentrated? These could be signs of overworking. Constantly working long hours can be taxing on our mental facilities, draining our ability to think logically.

Anxiety

Anxiety occurs in overworked employees as a result of the stress, lack of sleep and mental drain.

Insomnia

Insomnia can be caused by overworking because of stress, being overstimulated or just simply depriving yourself of sleep to get work done.

Anger

Anger from overworking is typically exhibited through excessive irritability, tension, or having outbursts in the workplace.

Depression

Overworking can activate feelings of hopelessness and dread, leading to employees feeling trapped in depression.

Lack of Productivity

If you or an employee has been working extra hours, but no additional results are produced, it’s possible that the overworking is generating negative returns on productivity.

Apathy

Related to depression, apathy could be a result of overworking. Overworking can cause feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, and immobility.

Why Overworking is Bad for Your Health

Influences Your Sleep Cycle

Overworking side effects like stress, extended exposure to computer screens, consuming caffeine or depriving yourself of sleep can significantly impact your sleep cycle. Chronic sleep loss increases the risk of many ailments, such as obesity and heart disease, and also has short-term effects on your memory.

The main take away is that sleep is an important component of maintaining a healthy body and mind. Losing sleep can lead to accrued sleep debt, which increases health consequences, putting you at growing risk for weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and memory loss.

Impacts Your Heart

Overworking has been associated with a higher risk of heart-related problems. These problems include death due to heart disease, heart attacks, and angina. Working longer hours can increase the risk of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) by approximately 40%. CHD is the most common type of heart disease and is the #1 killer of both men and women in the United States.

Effects Your Mental Health

According to research from the University of Warwick, happiness makes people more productive at work. In fact, it makes them 12% more productive than employees who work longer hours and 22% more productive than those who reported feeling unhappy at work.

This further proves that our mental state affects our work. Also, workers that are happier tend to collaborate more effectively. Overworking can increase the likelihood of committing errors such as entering data incorrectly or poorly managing your time.

How to Prevent Overworking

Encourage Work-Life Balance

Helping employees find a good work-life balance is crucial to keeping them happy and mentally sound. Encouraging them to pursue out of work activities actively is an excellent place to start. Workers with a poor work-life balance spend too much time at their desks which can leave them drained, stressed and unhappy.

Encourage Positivity and Open Communication

Having open communication encourages employees to do the same in return which can lead to a decrease in stress. Evaluate the “tone” of your organization’s internal communications to determine if it is promoting a positive atmosphere where employees feel comfortable enough to approach their managers with problems.

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Enforce Vacations

In today’s technology-driven culture, employees always seem to be plugged in even when they’re not in the office. This is why employers should encourage employees to take vacation time in order to recover and recuperate. Enforce a rule that employees shouldn’t worry about work when they’re on vacation, so they can feel fully rejuvenated when they return.

Promote Physical Activity

It’s been determined that sitting at a desk for too long can lead to heart damage and increase the risk of death. Implement some sort of physical activities or outlets for your employees to get away from their desk every day. At RBM, we’re allowed a 20-minute break every day, which we can use to play pool, go on walks or simply give our brains a break.

Educate on the Importance of Sleep

I’m going to hammer this in one more time… SLEEP IS VERY IMPORTANT! Losing sleep is one of the most significant contributors to workplace losses in productivity. The U.S. wastes about 1.2 million working days a year due to decreased productivity from sleep-deprived workers, which costs the economy about $411 billion a year. Try implementing flexible scheduling options to make sure employees are getting adequate rest.

Now that you know how to catch overworked employees, why it’s harmful and how to implement changes for good, check out how we do it at RBM. Want to join our awesome team? Browse our job openings.

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