Working Longer Hours: The Unexpected Drawbacks

Americans are known for working longer hours. In an average year, the typical American works 100 more hours than a Brit, 300 more hours than a Frenchman, and 400 more than a German. The typical American also takes fewer vacation days than our European counterparts. When taking on more overtime hours, some employees are hyper-focused on overtime payments and moving up the career ladder. However, there are a number of negative consequences to working longer hours that you may not expect. 

Effects On Health

Both physical and mental health are affected by working longer hours. The University College London found that the risk of having heart disease increases by 67% for people who work overtime compared to people who work the standard 7-8 hours per day. The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study showing that middle-aged workers who work over 55 hours a week have poorer mental skills, such as short-term memory and a reduced ability to recall words, than those who work a standard workweek. Additionally, for many workers, more time at work means more stress. Increases in stress are associated with a wide range of health problems, from ulcers to obesity. Mental health is also negatively impacted by working longer hours. A study conducted by University College London and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health found that overtime can double your chances of developing depression. All of these negative health outcomes can have a big cost on employers. 

Decreases In Productivity

You might expect that a benefit to working more hours would be increased productivity. However, longer hours do not automatically result in a greater output. A Boston University study found that managers could not tell the difference between employees who worked 80 hours a week and those who just pretended to. This finding can be explained by another study conducted in the United Kingdom. Surveying over 2,000 office workers, researchers found that the average worker only accomplished 3 hours of work a day, regardless of the number of hours he or she spent in the office. Another study in a Swedish Toyota center tried a six hour workday and saw increased profits. Finally, a Stanford study found that productivity declines sharply when an employee works over 50 hours a week. After 55 hours, productivity drops so much that putting in any more hours does not increase productivity at all. Therefore, those who work 70 hours per week tend to generate the same output as those who work 55 hours. 

Seek Legal Assistance

If you have not been paid your rightful overtime wages, seek legal assistance today. The Law Office of Christopher Q. Davis, located in New York City, can assist you. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel. You don’t pay unless we win.