How many hours per week is too much work?
Ever been called a “workaholic?”
Is work monopolizing your life, but you don’t know how you can find relief given the demands of your job?
Researchers settled on 50 hours weekly as the key marker for identifying “workaholism,” explains Sarah Asebedo, a Kansas State University doctoral student and co-author of a study recently published in Financial Planning Review.
Workers who regularly toil 50-plus hours because they are driven to, or because the heavy demands of their job require it, could experience reduced mental and physical well being as a result, Asebedo and her colleagues found.
Using data from the government’s “National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979,” where 12,686 young men and women were interviewed annually from 1979 through 1994, and are currently interviewed biennially, the researchers found work overload was associated with skipped meals – a commonly accepted marker of reduced physical well-being.
Moreover, explains Asebedo, the people reporting 50-hour plus weeks had higher levels of self-reported depression.
But not every workaholic suffers these ill effects.
“It is important for each individual to assess how work may be affecting their lives, and to take the necessary steps to mitigate any potential negative consequences,” Asebedo says.
Since the economic slowdown, many workers are forced to work extra hours since businesses are expecting more productivity from fewer workers.
Although changing work hours may not always be possible, Asebedo says that relief is possible by trying to take time for regular meals, and trying to “fully disconnect” from work by shunning emails and other work-related distractions.
Even when someone is self-motivated motivated to put in long hours, “the literature is rich on how that effects relationships,” she observes. “You may not realize the effect you are having on others until you’re asked to make a change,” Asebedo concludes.
© CTW Features