What’s the chances of having a funny turn?

That’s what Andrew Marr, (Broadcaster and Journalist) thought was happening to him in 2014, it was later discovered that he had had a mini-stroke – the precursor to the full stroke he later suffered. Research from the University College London shows that staying late at the office on a regular basis can substantially increase the risk of having a stroke or heart disease.

The research shows that working: 41 – 48 hours increases your chance of having a stroke by 10%
49 – 54 hours increase your chance of having a stroke by 27%
55 + hours increases your chance of having a stroke by 33%

The research also indicated the chance of developing heart disease which was 13% more likely for people who worked excessively long hours.

Sickness is a huge problem in the workplace with 70 millions working days lost each year. Heart disease and strokes often affect key players in an organisation so the costs invariably go well beyond simply providing SSP or sickness cover.

There are many positive things that come from shorter working hours, for example:

• Increased productivity from your employees
• A more concentrated, alert workforce when in the workplace
• Lesser risk of health & safety problems and reduced incidents and accidents
• Reduced risk of ill health
• More quality time to spend with your loved ones

Easier said than done – is that what you are thinking? With the stresses and deadlines that we all face at work sometimes you just have to stay to get a job done.

But, emergencies apart, does working more hours actually get the job done? Is there are risk that in working longer hours we are actually less effective? Are the long hours simply the product of “a long hours culture” where employees find work (often unnecessary work) to do in order to satisfy expectations as to when they can leave safely? Are long hours a pre-requisite for promotion?

If you are working long hours, or perpetrating long hours perhaps you need to consider whether this is in your long term interest both from the perspective of your own personal heath and from the perspective of what you want to achieve from the business.

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