Japanese are known as workaholic nation. But now, death from overtime work has become a social concern in that country. Some believe, most cases are due to the sudden onset of a fatal cardiovascular or cerebro-vascular events. In 2002, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in Japan announced a comprehensive programme for the prevention of health problems due to overwork.
There are other horrifying effects of hard and exhausting work on emotional health and quality of life. Research confirms that just a week of overtime, with a higher workload, has been linked to the release of increased amounts of cortisol, the stress hormone. The Journal of Occupational and environmental Medicine, found that overtime puts both, men and women, at risk for higher levels of anxiety and depression. This ultimately appeared to increase the risk of mental distress.
From management point of view, overtime and hard work is assumed to be the best way to attain maximal output without hiring extra manpower. The postulation is that output increases in straight mathematical progression with the number of hours worked. But this is not always right. It may be appropriate in limited cases where the hours of work are extended over a concise period. More than a century of studies conducted by business people, university researchers and industry associations illustrate that long term, useful work output is maximised at eight hours a day, five days a week.
Like lots of other renowned businessman, Henry Ford, after conducting experiments for about 12 years agreed to adopt 40-hour work per week. They made the workday 8 hrs from 9-10 hrs and the work-week from six days to five days. They found a relationship between increased output and reduced production costs.
There may be controversies over the direct effects of overtime work on health. But, according to Verite, an independent organisation, it has been found in workplaces around the world – sadness and depression are clear costs correlated with long work hours. Its studies also found that excessive overtime produced stress and stress-related ailments including blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks. In fact, some of the world’s worst disasters have occurred because of critical errors made by exhausted workers.
There is a common saying in developed countries that says, “work smart, NOT hard”. But it does not mean that there is a back door to success. The ‘work smart’ philosophy says work intelligently and wisely. In that case, you need to be knowledgeable and sensible as well. Is it possible to achieve maximum success in a minimum of time? Well, it varies from job to job, situation to situation.
Digging your way out through the ruins of a construction that has collapsed around you can be an example. Definitely, in that incidence determination and hard work persuade in some efforts. But intellectual occupations should not feel like digging through debris. Decentralise, delegate, use other people’s time and brain as much as possible. Some believe this is the quickest way to success. But that is not easy. You need to read and learn a lot to have perception. Sometimes we are investing so much time to prove something unprofessionally and emotionally, which turn out to be unproductive.
Try to choose a job you love, then you do not need to work hard.
Have A Nice Day
All health information to keep you up to date
Dr Rubaiul Murshed
Source: The Daily Star, October 25, 2008