Overworking Can Kill You
By Patricia Goh
Just this year in March, a 26 year old factory worker abruptly died after working for 12 hours every single day assembling Apple iPhones. Two years ago, a 24 year old advertising employee from China suffered a sudden cardiac arrest at his desk and died, having working overtime the month prior to his death. Going back another two years in Los Angeles, a 51 year old employee died in her cubicle due to work over-exhaustion and wasn’t found until two days later.
With overworking increasingly becoming the norm, this topic is discussed extensively to not only raise awareness but to administer the right methods to achieve better productivity without overworking.
Why Is Overworking So Common
Overworking is the common factor found in all three real-life examples shown above. Whether or not profitability, pride, or ambition are incentives that keeps them going, they are always found to put their job first before anything else. Furthermore, many employers hope to tap into existing resources to maximize returns. However, HBR explored an explanation that the norm isn’t dictated by anyone. It is rather, the fruit of corporate culture and technology advancement. It is also interesting when Cha, a sociologist in this field says that men are more likely to overwork than women as most financial responsibility falls on their shoulders.
What Happens to You When You Overwork
Here are some solid evidence of why overworking is only a short-term solution that almost guarantees to backfire in the long run.
First of all, even if you can hardly feel it, your internal organs suffer from lack of sleep, staying in one position for a long time, sitting for hours on end and an irregular eating schedule. The Guardian reported that working more than 55 hours a week increases your risk of having a stroke by 33% and heart disease by 13%. In the end, your company will end up paying more for absenteeism, turn over and health insurance costs.
Second of all, according to Boston University, the overworking employee is not accomplishing more than the employee working regular hours. To put things in perspective, The Nation revealed that the Greeks work 600 more hours than Germans, but the German productivity is 70% higher. Working long hours also mean that you are working while you are tired, at a stage when you are more prone to making mistakes and losing sight of the bigger picture. Chances are that these mistakes could very well end up expensive to fix.
Solution: The Healthier, Cheaper Alternative to Overworking
Stop overworking. That said, to ensure regular working is still fruitful, the healthier and cheaper secret sauce is to plan well. Each aspect of your business comes into play, from understanding how much work there is, how much realistically can a person take on, to how many people you will need in each department and how many people do you need in total, you are able to know your numbers, take it and make something worthwhile out of it.
This is one of the very type of problems that resource planning softwares set out to solve. Monitor and track your resource capacity utilization to see how much time someone has already been working, how much time do they have left to work, and more. With technology advancement, employers and managers can take advantage of it without forking out a fortune.
The discussion of overworking has developed into the a simple conclusion of – Don’t Do It. We really want to put it out here that in the long run, it is an expensive, unhealthy and unproductive method of working. In addition, turning up fresh, well-rested, happy and passionate for work is crucial for happy teamwork. The last thing we want is to ruin our health and prospect to work, letting the artificial intelligence robots replace us and taking over our jobs.
Patricia Goh is a product specialist at Ganttic where she helps managers better utilise their resources and meet project goals. She provides guidance on resource planning and visual scheduling using Ganttic. Find out more about capacity utilisation, resource planning and project management insights at www.ganttic.com/blog.