There is no doubt that remote working throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has had its impact on worker’s mental health.
However, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), long working hours are the reason for hundreds of thousands of people suffering from strokes or heart disease too.
The first global study of its kind showed 745,000 people died in 2016 from stroke and heart disease due to long hours. The WHO has also warned that this trend may worsen due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Research showed that working 55 hours or more a week was associated with a 35 per cent higher risk of stroke and 17 per cent higher risk of dying from heart disease, compared with a working week of 35 to 40 hours.
In relation to this, a regulatory programme manager, 45-year-old Jonathan Frostick, explained that he had just sat down on a Sunday afternoon to prepare for the working week ahead of when he felt a tightness in his chest, a throbbing throat and other severe side effects of a heart attack.
While recovering from this heart attack, Frostick described that he had experienced a wake-up call and will no longer be spending all of his days on Zoom anymore.
Whilst the WHO study did not cover the Covid-19 pandemic period, the recent jump in remote working and the economic slowdown may have increased these risks associated with long working hours.
The report also concluded that long hours were estimated to account for a third of all work-related disease.
Whilst many are still remote working, we must find the right balance between employee work-life to ensure their health is always put first. Here are a few pointers employers can use to advise their employees to follow, when working from home:
Get moving. Employees must ensure they take a break away from their desk. Going outside or doing some form of exercise can ultimately decrease the chance of heart disease or even diabetes in later life.
Set boundaries. Ensure there is a clear start and endpoint to the workday. Many people find this difficult as the time we would have spent commuting is now utilised for additional work hours.
However, setting a specific time to start and finish workdays will ensure employee’s health is always put foremost and may even result in them feeling more motivated to complete all the work before this cut-off time.
Time to de-stress. Feeling stressed all the time could raise the risk of heart attack and stroke, studies show. Therefore, it is essential that employers encourage workers to have a time-out, relax and get a good night’s sleep.
At HR Caddy, we can help you make the right decisions for the needs of your business and employees. For more help or advice on related matters, please get in touch today.