The Los Angeles Times posted a blog about an interesting European study which suggests working extra hours on the job can be detrimental to one’s health. Specifically, the damage in working overtime seemed to center around the health of the heart. One of the more sobering statistics that the report provides is that for people who worked at least three hours beyond the normal work day, they had on average a 60% higher rate of angina, nonfatal heart attacks and death from heart-related conditions. You can read the entire study (PDF) in the European Heart Journal.
The study focused on London office workers, but considering the reputation that Americans have for working long hours, we can assume to be carrying the same health risks every time we burn the midnight oil. The study even concludes that America is well above average when it comes to employees working overtime.
The Los Angeles Times does make an intriguing point, as the study found that the people who were most likely to work overtime were Type A personalities, who are more prone to heart ailments, setting up a chicken-egg argument. Is overtime work, and the consequences involved in working additional hours the cause of the heart issues, or is the overtime worker’s personality and lifestyle causing the heart problems?
Have you suffered health issues because of working overtime? If you thought working extra hours on the job could lead to health issues, would you stop or do you consider it to be an essential activity in the current economic climate?