Overworking is bad for your health
Overworking is seldom discussed in today’s society. Yet a study carried out by Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris (Paris’ public hospital system), recently highlighted the negative health repercussions that come as a result of chronic overworking. The study revealed a direct link between overworking and an increased risk of stroke: those working over ten hours a day on a regular basis were proven to have a 29% higher risk of stroke.
Many employees have to deal with increased periods of activity, especially those working at a seasonal business. Companies in this category often resort to annualised hours, which allows employees to alternate between periods of intense work and quieter periods during slumps in business, thereby decreasing the risk of overworking.
Other employees are less lucky and are overworked week after week, to the detriment of their productivity and concentration. As a result, they often end up trapped in an endless cycle of overworking, underperforming, and overworking to keep up.
Overworking and stress
The first consequence of an ever-increasing workload is an increase in stress. Stress can take on multiple forms and lead to further health risks. However, it is not inevitable. One way it can be tempered is by limiting or banning after-hour emails, as is the case in France, where employees are encouraged to ignore emails sent after-hours.
Both men and women are affected by work-related stress, the consequences of which reach far beyond the increased risk of stroke: depression, high blood pressure and relational difficulties are often experienced by those working extended hours.
How to deal with overworking
Plan your workload
The key is to lay out all your current projects and divide them into smaller tasks, making it easier for you to assess your overall workload. Allocate an amount of time to each task and see how many you can fit into an average day of work. Be wary of “invisible tasks” (sending emails, handling calls, competitor monitoring…) which can be time-consuming.
…and get the most important tasks out of the way! This will help relieve stress and make you feel more productive. By avoiding multitasking, you can focus your attention on one project after another.
Change your outlook
Changing your outlook on work-life can be a game-changer. Problems can be viewed as challenges to take on. Adopting new ways of referring to work-related matters in a more positive way can allow you to see your job in a whole new light.
Sports, meditation and breaks
Since being healthy and feeling relaxed at work is the best performance driver there is, it is vital to relieve stress and let go. To do so, there’s nothing better than a quick sports session during your lunch break or biking to work. Less sporty individuals can benefit from breathing exercises or meditation… a quick way to relieve inner tension in a matter of minutes.