Working longer and harder is just a part of the millennial lifestyle. No matter where you work or what you do, you are no doubt feeling overworked. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s likely that you are feeling more overworked than ever before. If you are, do not worry. You aren’t the only one.
A survey by FlexJobs and Mental Health America found that 40% of American workers are feeling overworked due to COVID-19. A global survey by Glint found that comments related to burnout doubled from March 2020 (2.7%) to April 2020 (5.4%). Burnout, stress, exhaustion all have many reasons, but probably none as important as overworking.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) recommends 48 hours per week for work. Yet, that’s a number that is regularly ignored. In fact, four states have allowed factories to extend working hours to up to 72 hours per week. That has serious consequences that many employers fail to see.
Graphic: signs you are overworking:
- Excessive consumption of caffeinated drinks and alcohol
- You feel your productivity has reduced
- You experience day-long fatigue
- Insomnia or sleeplessness
- Feeling low or demotivated about life
- Your relationships are taking a hit
- Chronic neck and backaches
How Feeling Overworked Impacts Employees
As an employer, you should know that there are severe consequences to employees feeling overworked. Here are just a few ways feeling overworked impacts your employees–
Poor Sleep Schedules
Excessive working hours and high stress levels can lead your employees to suffer from insomnia or other sleeping disorders. If they are feeling overworked, they will struggle to fall asleep and stay awake, leading to something called “sleep debt”.
As a result of debt, employees are likely to be low on energy, leading to mistakes since they can’t pay attention. In severe cases, it can also lead to a heart attack. No amount of coffee can fix this, only a proper sleep schedule.
Lack of Exercise
If employees are feeling overworked the first thing they are likely to do is skip exercise. The World Health organization recommends 30 minutes of exercise daily. Without that, your employees are at greater risk of diabetes, hypertension, obesity and other deadly diseases.
A lack of exercise can also lead to mental wellness issues, since exercise is known to improve mood and happiness. That’s why it is vital you encourage them to work out daily.
Employees who are feeling overworked tend to resort to alcohol, smoking and drugs. You do not want employees who indulge in such habits, since they are putting themselves at greater risk of being hospitalized. You will end up with employees who can’t deliver their best.
Another habit you need to watch out for is increased caffeine consumption. Late-night sessions are often accompanied by coffee or other caffeinated drinks, which harms their body and sleep cycle.
Switching to Fast Food
Employees who are feeling overworked tend to prefer high-calory food like burgers, pizzas, fries, chips and coke. That’s because overworking leads to increased appetite. And since they don’t have time to cook, they turn to these alternatives that are quick and cheap.
That’s a recipe for disaster. Employees who consume fast food regularly are more prone to diabetes, obesity and other cardiovascular diseases. It’s an invitation to end up in the hospital.
Mental Health Issues
Feeling overworked leads to increased stress, anxiety and mental fatigue. If not addressed early it can develop into depression, and even lead to suicide. Employees need time and energy to turn to other creative outlets to ensure mental wellbeing.
All the above points too have a severe impact on their mental health. You need to pay attention, since happier employees are known to be more creative and productive.
Feeling Overworked? Talk About it
As an employee, you need to let your employer know when you are feeling overworked. Because of the pandemic, more and more Indians are working longer hours, ignoring their family. That can impact your business in so many negative ways.
It’s very likely your employees may not want to talk about it, which is why you should. As a responsible employer, you need to talk to each and every employee about their physical and mental wellbeing. Here are a few signs you should look for to know it’s time for the talk-
- Mood changes and sudden bursts of anger
- Difficulty in staying focused
- Inability to meet deadlines
- Drinking more than a few cups of coffee
- Appearing sleepy or exhausted
How to Avoid Overworking
The first step to ensure your employees aren’t feeling overworked is to talk about it. Be open and ask them to let you know if they are. Then find ways to reduce their workload, either by hiring additional employees, or getting an existing employee to help. It’s important you have this conversation one-on-one, and then with the team as a whole.
Responsible employers look for the signs early and intervene, so that their employees aren’t overworking to the point that they are forced to quit. Not only does it improve your productivity, but it helps create a caring team spirit and helps build healthier people.
One way to do so is to get employee healthcare benefits for your team. Affordable employee healthcare for startups and MSMEs allows employers to provide healthcare benefits, and build healthier teams.
Wondering how to start? Why not get a wellness membership for employees from Onsurity? Our business health plans are carefully curated and designed to work for all SMEs and startups. With our healthcare membership, your employees can put their health first, without affecting your business.
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