How a 7 Hour Work Day Can Prevent Burnout
Shorter Working Hours Can Increase Health & Productivity
According to Eurostat, British full-time employees work the longest hours amongst all European countries, averaging nearly 43 hours per week. However, the results of the long work days seem to not fulfill expectations.
The statistics are frightening: for 59% British employees, work is the main cause of stress. Over half a million adults suffer from work-related stress. The most common are problems with concentration, sleep and appetite disorders, constant feelings of frustration and irritability, decreased self-esteem, and alcohol abuse.
More and more British employees are experiencing burnouts and unfortunately do not receive sufficient help to deal with this. Furthermore, overworking increases the risk of dangerous diseases, such as obesity, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
The statistics for businesses are also alarming. In the financial year 2016 - 2017, over 12 millions work days were lost exclusively due to sick leave caused by stress, anxiety, and depression. This equates to 9 days off per employee and means the loss of millions of pounds. A proposed change by the British public is to reduce the work day to 7 hours in order to boost both health and productivity.
Market Inspector created an infographic to illustrate this problem and the proposed solution.
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7-Hour Work Day as a “Win-Win” Solution
According to a survey conducted by YouGov, the majority of British employees consider a 7-hour work day as the most productive. It is also the optimal length from a work efficiency perspective.
Research and social experiments have confirmed that decreasing work hours may bring numerous benefits both to employees and subsequently to businesses. For employees, working less will result in them having more time to “charge the batteries”. The upgrade to their quality of life can directly influence their work performance, providing even more profits for the businesses.
In turn, the benefits of reducing the work day to 7 hours are vast for businesses as well, namely, better focus and creativity, improved time management, as well as increased efficiency and effectiveness. Essentially, employees will be capable of fulfilling the same tasks in a shorter period of time. For some business sectors it would mean the ability to decrease work hours without recruiting additional staff.
These companies, which would have no other choice but to recruit more employees, should keep in mind the future savings generated by fewer days lost due to sick leave (related both to physical and mental health), and greater overall results due to better workers’ performance.