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Are You Working For More Than 55 Hours Per Week? 'Cause You Really Shouldn't Be

It's a health hazard, you guys.
How long working hours affects your health
PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK
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If you've been clocking in more hours than what's expected of you these days, you've probably thought two things: Ano bang ginagawa ko? Worth it ba 'to?

While it's absolutely possible to feel fulfilled by your work, remember that it shouldn't come at the expense of your health. 

Published in Environment International, both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) found that "long working hours led to 745, 000 deaths from stroke and ischemic heart disease in 2016." That number is 29 percent higher than the reported deaths just 16 years earlier. 

Effects of overworking

To be more specific, 398,000 people died from stroke and 347,000 from heart disease because they worked 55 or more hours per week. These numbers are, respectively, 42 percent and 19 percent higher than in 2000.

According to the report, men, people living in the Western Pacific and SouthEast Asia regions, and middle-aged or older workers were the most affected. A whopping 72 percent of the deaths were men. 

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When it comes to the risks, "working 55 or more hours per week is associated with an estimated 35 percent higher risk of a stroke and a 17 percent higher risk of dying from ischemic heart disease, compared to working 35-40 hours a week."

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WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "Teleworking has become the norm in many industries, often blurring the boundaries between home and work. In addition, many businesses have been forced to scale back or shut down operations to save money, and people who are still on the payroll end up working longer hours. No job is worth the risk of stroke or heart disease. Governments, employers, and workers need to work together to agree on limits to protect the health of workers."

Director Dr. Maria Neira, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, added, "Working 55 hours or more per week is a serious health hazard. It's time that we all, governments, employers, and employees wake up to the fact that long working hours can lead to premature death."

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What can be done to handle this problem?

  • Governments can pass enforce laws that "ban mandatory overtime and ensure maximum limits on working time;"
  • Employers and workers can work together to "arrange working time to be more flexible" and agree on a maximum number of working hours;
  • Employees can be transparent about how long they've worked to make sure they don't go over the 55-hour mark. 

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