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Thursday, 1st February

What’s The Real Price of Working Longer Hours?

Feeling overworked and undervalued? You probably are. Just like the millions of other people who put in extra hours at work because they feel pressured to stay late, skip lunch, or not be the first one to leave. Recent figures suggest that British workers average 8.4 hours of overtime each week, the equivalent to working an extra day a week or 68 days a year. And if that wasn’t bad enough, almost two thirds of us aren’t getting paid for the privilege.

Let’s put that into perspective with a little reality check.

It’s like volunteering to work for your boss from January 1st until April 4th – for free!

But aside from the financial wake up call, there are plenty of other reasons why working longer hours is costing you dearly. Here are just a few of them:

You’ll feel sick and tired

Extend your working day for long periods of time and you’re more likely to experience the symptoms of fatigue. Things like sleepiness, poor concentration and irritability that will do you no favours with your boss. And without the proper rest to recover physically and mentally from work, you’ll also be more susceptible to illness and days off.

You’ll gain weight

As you start to feel tired late the afternoon, it’s all too easy to reach for a chocolate bar and a strong coffee to perk you up for another couple of hours. But that just leads to you consuming more sugar, more carbs and more fat. Relying on caffeine to help you carry out everyday tasks will also spike your adrenalin levels. When you finally head for home, you’ll have less time to make a healthy, home-cooked meal, squeeze in a workout and get some serious shut eye. At best, you’ll need to loosen your belt a notch or two. At worst, you’ll be at risk of obesity.

Your ticker will suffer

Working excessive overtime is also associated with higher blood pressure. Studies also suggest that working for more than 55 hours a week can increase your chance of stroke by a third. And men and women who work longer hours have a 13% greater risk of developing coronary heart disease.

You’ll drink more alcohol

Longer working hours have also been linked to an increase in alcohol consumption. But although alcohol can induce deep sleep to help your body and brain to relax, it will also have a negative affect on the restorative, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep that you need to fully recharge.

You’ll drink more alcohol

Longer working hours have also been linked to an increase in alcohol consumption. But although alcohol can induce deep sleep to help your body and brain to relax, it will also have a negative affect on the restorative, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep that you need to fully recharge.

Your productivity will drop

And despite what your boss might think, it only takes a few weeks of working excessive overtime for your productivity to take a nose dive. The sweet spot for productivity is actually a 40-hour week. Work any longer and you’ll be less effective and more liable to burn out.

So, here are a few tips to help you turn that workday overtime marathon into a 9 to 5 sprint:

1. Start by getting a good night’s sleep. Take 15ml of Benenox to support your body and give you an overnight recharge. You’ll wake up refreshed and determined to start a new work regime.

2. Say no to as many unnecessary meetings as possible – they only cause a backlog of work and could probably be handled via email.

3. Take a full lunch hour. Avoid eating lunch at your desk so you’re not tempted to carry on working, then take a brisk walk to boost your energy levels.

4. Book in an activity to encourage you to leave on time - a gym session, catch up with mates or an evening class. Whatever takes your fancy – it’s your free time after all.

5. And if you’re still embarrassed to leave on the dot, leave a decoy jacket on the back of your chair then breeze out like you’re heading for a meeting. You’ve got this.

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