The 8-hour working day is just a technicality for most office workers. They are expected to work an 8-hour day as a minimum, and usually at no extra pay (or thanks for that matter). For many employees on the receiving end of such a cutthroat management style, it is easier to accept that a 10 or 11-hour working day is the ‘norm’, than to fight it. If you fight against it while your colleagues crack on with working a solid 10 hour day with a smile on their face, you will alienate yourself and become a subject of contention amongst others who do grin and bear the extra graft. Of course, it’s not fair but it is a reality.
Just because your co-workers and manager spend an extra 2 or 3 hours every day in the office, why should you have to? Well, like it or not, peer pressure can be a challenging thing to deal with. You can be made to feel as though you are less committed than others who do put in extra hours, and this is never a good feeling to have. More often than not, peer pressure wins out and employees get into a routine of working extra hours each day. Will your extra effort lead to a promotion? Not likely. Will you feel less alienated at work? Most definitely.
The dangers of working more than 8 hours per day
The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study that revealed a direct link between stress and long working days. It also found that the results of a long working day had a knock-on effect with an employee’s personal life, including poor eating habits, excess alcohol intake, and dysfunctional living.
The longer hours you work, the harder it is to maintain a normal lifestyle: your home meals turn into late night takeaways, your leisure time becomes non-existent, and your social life suffers. Before you know it, you are a single, workaholic with 4 cats and an attitude from hell.
The dangers are not solely lifestyle orientated though; they are health related. The study revealed that individuals who spend more than 8 hours per day at work, over a prolonged period of time, have a 40-80% greater chance of heart disease compared to individuals who stick to working an 8 hour day. The health concerns are not unfounded, in fact, they are worryingly accurate. The Finish Institute of Occupational Health uphold findings from a UK based survey carried out in 2011 which found that those working more than 11 hours per day had an increased heart disease risk of 67%!
The key to living longer, happier, and healthier…
With increased levels of stress, depression, lack of exercise and health concerns, working more than 8 hours per day is simply not worth it. The risks are evident, and irrespective of whether you feel energetic enough to work regular overtime, your body may be suffering. To live a long and healthy life, you need to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle that gives equal weight to both work and home life. Even if you don’t have a wife/husband or children to be home early for, you need to recognize that ‘me-time’ is vital for a happy existence.