A large segment of the global population believes in working very hard to get ahead.
A global study of the extremely hard-working, however, shows instead of getting ahead, they’re getting dead – earlier than they should.
The research, by the World Health Organization with the International Labour Organization (ILO), found a schedule of 55 hours or more a week brought a 35% higher risk of stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease, compared with a workweek of 35 to 40 hours.
The WHO and ILO estimate that of those working 55+ hours per week in 2016, 398,000 people died from stroke and 347,000 from heart disease.
The study showed almost three quarters of those “overwork” deaths were middle-aged or older men.
In the longer term, from 2000-16, the number of deaths from heart disease due to working long hours increased by 42 percent, and from stroke by 19 percent.
The report found that people living in South East Asia and the Western Pacific region were the most affected.
The coronavirus pandemic was not part of the study, and it’s no great leap to conclude these grim numbers will see a significant rise when that timespan is included.
“We have some evidence that shows that when countries go into national lockdown, the number of hours worked increase by about 10%,” WHO technical officer Frank Pega said.
In the UK, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that people working from home during the pandemic worked six hours of unpaid overtime a week while those not working remotely averaged 3.6 hours a week in OT.
The researchers pointed to physical wear and tear along with increased use of tobacco and alcohol, less sleep and exercise, and an unhealthy diet.