The downsides to working late are very obvious to many people: less time spent relaxing with friends and family, less time spent on hobbies or enjoyable activities, less time focusing on mental health and stress-relief, and less time for sleeping, exercising, and eating well, all of which are essential for maintaining health.
But now there’s evidence that working long hours is specifically detrimental to women’s health.
Here are the details about how putting in over 40 hours can be damaging to a woman’s long-term wellness.
Long Working Hours Carry Long-Term Health Risks for Women
If you’re female and put in long hours at work, the likelihood of you developing life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease and cancer increases. A study from The Ohio State University found that women who had averaged work weeks of 60+ hours over three decades tripled diabetes, cancer, heart trouble, and arthritis risks.
Researchers interviewed more than 12,000 Americans born between the years 1957 and 1964. Survey participants had to be at least 40 years old in 1998 for their results to count. There was an increase in instances of heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer in women who kept long working hours indicating that there was a distinct relationship between too much work and illness or disease.
Health risks start increasing when women put in 40+ hours a week and grow even higher at 50+ hours. Females in their 20s, 30s, and 40s might not notice how work impacts their health, however, until later in life.
The Pressure Placed on Women
The study revealed that women face more pressure and stress than men when they keep long working hours. Men that worked longer hours did see a higher chance of developing arthritis, but no increased incidence of cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. Actually, men who worked 41 – 50 hours weekly on average had lower depression, lung disease or heart disease risk than men who worked 40 hours or fewer.
Generally, women take more responsibility at home and therefore feeling more stress when working long hours.
Impacts Not Just Felt Among the Women
This isn’t just a problem for women and their families. Employers and lawmakers should be aware of these health risks and adjust required working hours accordingly.
When working hours are reasonable, work quality improves, medical costs go down, and there are fewer workplace accidents and injuries.
What Employers Should Do
Changing expectations for how long employees should work is a must. Employers can institute flexible scheduling to help lessen stress; reevaluating time-off policies is also advisable.
Instituting a workplace wellness program is also a great idea. Encouraging diet, exercise, and regular wellness screenings makes for healthier employees.
Test Smartly Labs nationwide can provide the assistance you need to create an effective workplace wellness program, including biometric screenings and Health Risk Assessments. To learn more, contact your nearest location today!