Long Hours and Your Health

According to new research released by leading contact lens brand, Acuvue, office workers are now spending more than 1,700 hours a year in front of a computer screen. The study also revealed that nearly half (48%) are now suffering with eye problems as a direct result. Strained and dry eyes are most certainly an issue that needs to be taken seriously, though there is also a whole host of other related consequences that the modern workforce are facing on account of long and demanding work hours.

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) found that the average British employee is now working more than 188 days-worth of overtime. This is reflective of an era in which increasingly long hours have become the norm.

Why are we working so much?

There isn’t really one prescriptive answer to this question as circumstances can differ so vastly from person to person. That said, it is easy to spot a few recurring reasons amongst those who are spending so long shackled to their screens.

Some common examples:

∙         A lack of budget to employ staff to take on some of the responsibility

∙         Investing time into getting a start-up or small business off the ground

∙         Difficulty saying no or handing over control to other people

∙         Constantly battling against competition in an over-saturated marketplace

Of course, we understand that as an aspiring entrepreneur or small business owner, you want to dedicate as many hours as possible to making your venture a success. However, we also want to highlight the paramount importance of striking a healthy work-life balance.

Failing to find the work-life balance could result in…

Physical health problems

This includes the issues with eyes and vision we mentioned earlier, but also cardiovascular and musculoskeletal problems as we spend more and more time stationery at our desks. Not to mention raised blood pressure levels.

Mental health problems

Small business lending company, Prospa found that a massive 88% of small business owners experience feelings of burnout and stress.

While you might think working all the hours under the sun is the best thing for your business, it can actually have the opposite effect when your mental wellbeing is being impacted.

You are far more use to the business when you can take time out for clear thinking and headspace. Failing to do so will lead to low productivity levels, disengagement, poor performance and frustration.

Damaged relationships

Prospa’s research also demonstrated that small business owners are seriously neglecting family time (38%) and their love lives (33%) in favour of long working hours.

While your business might seem like the most important thing in the world – especially in its infancy – it’s crucial that you don’t neglect the human support network around you.

Our advice?

∙         Make time for nurturing personal relationships (romantic, friends and family)

∙         Dedicate even a small amount of time to a hobby or non-work-related activity each week

∙         Set yourself a technology curfew and ensure you switch off at least 30 minutes before bed

∙         Ensure you’re getting the amount of sleep that your body needs, at least a few nights each week.

Are you a small business owner who has somehow managed to find the sweet spot between your personal and professional lives? Leave your tips in the comments below or share them with us over on Twitter or Facebook.

Elizabeth Hughes

A content writer specialising in business, finance, software, and beyond. I'm a wordsmith with a penchant for puns and making complex subjects accessible.

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