Effect of Long Working Hours on Health of Employees (Research Paper Sample)
You are a consultant to a busy advertising company. The company is concerned that the culture of long working hours is affecting the health of its employees. Therefore, they are considering restructuring their workforce to have more part-time workers and fewer full-time workers. They have asked you to research the benefit of reduced working hours for the individual`s health and to write a report with recommendation.source..
Effect of Long Working Hours on Health of Employees
Working hours, in both their length and their structure, are one of the clearest and most important aspects of an entire class of occupational exposures involving the work process itself—the way in which work is structured and organized at the level of the worksite, the firm, and even the labor market. Having employees work more and longer hours does not necessarily result in more work or higher quality work. In fact, the opposite is likely to occur and employee health and wellness and the health and wellness of the organization suffer accordingly.
There is a rising body of literature that demonstrate the impact of long working hours on a range of health outcomes including both acute reactions such as stress, fatigue.Evidence suggests that working for long unfavorably affect the physical condition and wellbeing of employees. Long working hours has been linked cardiovascular disease, hypertension, fatigue, depression, chronic infections, musculoskeletal disorders, general health complaints, diabetes, and all-cause mortality. A number of meta-analyses and reviews have been written summarizing these findings of the study. Systematic reviews have concluded that long-working hours are possibly dangerous to employees’ health. Nevertheless, existing study is sparse and conflicting in several areas.
Long working hours are likely to cause adverse health behavior such as smoking and sedentary lifestyle, as well as more long-term effects such as cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), and mental. Reducing working hours will help in reducing adverse health behaviors among employees. This paper aims at examining the effects that working for long has on the wellbeing and working situation of employees.
Short-work hours put people into safe work situation. Long working hours are alleged to augment the risk of place of work accidents by precipitating a variety of intermediary conditions in affected employees, such as stress, fatigue, and tiredness. The trail connecting a demanding work plan to the working situation and eventually to a workplace accident may be mediated by a number of, including long working hours (Langeland, 2009). When workers are depressed due to long working hours, the safety of working environment is low and dispute among depressed workers is likely to emerge causing unsafe working condition.
Another benefit of reducing working hours is that it helps in improving the safety and work-life balance of employees (Nelen, Grip, & Fouarge, 2011). Studies summarize the literature along with the econometric limitations of previous works on the relationship between working hours work-life balance outcomes. Long hours workers tend to feel that they are not happy with the amount of time they devote to work and how it impacts on their family and home life. This study found that there is strong evidence that people perceive that working long hours leads to poor work-life balance (Nelen, Grip, & Fouarge, 2011). The regular working of long hours can adversely affect employees' work-life balance and home life. Employees can become fatigued when working excessive hours. This can result in high absence levels and poor working practices which place the employee and others at health risk as well as poor work-life balance
Reducing working hours help to improve the health condition of employees. Regular long working hours can encourage health related issues that may make workers to slacken their workplace. Long working hours can thereby become a source of high blood pressure, deception, and disputes. It has been found that all studies suggest a positive association between working long hours and fatigue, working time and cardiovascular disorder, and a negative relation of hours worked and physical health. Several reviews and empirical studies demonstrate various negative health effects of extended working hours. Long working hours are associated with poor perceived health, more illnesses (Wirtz & Nachreiner, 2010). Long working hours are associated not only with perceived overall health but also with several distinct health problems, such as psycho-vegetative impairments, for example mental health, different vegetative symptoms, gastrointestinal disorders, sleeping problems, musculoskeletal symptoms, or cardiovascular diseases. All these problems can be minimized or eradicated by avoiding long working hours. Wirtz & Nachreiner (2010) demonstrated negative effects of long work hours on psycho-vegetative disorders and mental health. The study found almost linear relationships between the number of hours worked / week and the frequency of reported psycho-vegetative impairments and depressive symptoms.
The available evidence clearly shows that long working hours have a detrimental impact on the safety, health, and work-life balance of the worker. Besides any direct impact on the worker, there is also a negative impact of working long hours on the general public, for example, with regard to environmental or patient safety, or the social integration of these workers. Based on safety considerations a maximum number of 8 hours of working time per day can be recommended, since beyond this number of working hours the accident risk increases disproportionately.
Longer hours of work per day can only be accepted if work is interrupted by adequate rest periods, which avoid any accumulation of fatigue. Based on health as well as on safety considerations no appropriate maximum limits for weekly working times can be specified. Since a linear increase of health impairments with increasing numbers of working hours can be observed the question of setting a limit is a question of how much impairment one is prepared to accept.
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