Shorter Working Hours Linked to a Healthier Heart

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We all know, for a fact, how things like stress, anxiety, and exhaustion end up taking a toll on our body’s physiology. Scientists have now concluded that long working hours correlate with an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) accumulated and studied data from 2000 to 2016 from varying samples of the global population to determine whether extended working hours had any correlation with heart disease in people.

The results of the study were astounding and shocking. The study suggested that prolonged working hours, defined as 55 hours or more, are detrimental to a person’s health, contribute to the development of heart diseases in such people, and make them more vulnerable to strokes.

The research concluded that between the years 2000 and 2016, there had been a 29 percent increase in deaths due to heart disease or stroke. The researchers correlated the increase in deaths with prolonged work hours that these people were putting in per week.

Upon closer inspection, the study revealed that the increase in deaths due to stroke rounded to about 19%, while the increase in ischemic heart disease-related deaths was an alarming 42%. 

It turns out that working 55 or more hours per week can adversely affect your heart and make you prone to such a disease.

People who work for less than 55 hours, say 35 to 40 hours per week, have a significantly lower risk of dying from stroke, calculated at about 35 percent, and a 17 percent lower chance of dying from heart disease.

The data is staggering and highlights the significant risk of working long hours on a weekly arrangement. The study comes when COVID restrictions have forced people to operate from home, and generally, the lines between home and office have gone blur.

People working from home are putting in more hours of work when compared with their work hours from the office. This is bound to have an impact on people’s lives in more than one way. Still, there is nothing more important than a person’s health, and the research has come out clearly in favor of reduced working hours because the risk of heart disease and stroke are causally related to long hours of work.

The study makes suggestions and puts forward recommendations for people to ensure that they do not work for prolonged hours and negotiate humane work arrangements whether they operate from home or office.

The study also stresses the role governments and civil society can play in ensuring that employers do not have employees working for anything close to 55 hours per week. Civil society can make their voices heard and make sure that the issue gets discussed in media and government institutions.

Finally, governments have a huge role to play. They can create laws to inhibit employers from exploiting their workers and ensure that they work on a schedule that does not harm their health in any way.

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