Always working? New research shows a startling downside for being overly “productive.” It doesn’t work, and it can actually shorten your life.
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center and five other universities found that employees who work 13+ hours a day at desk jobs are twice as likely to die prematurely than those who spend even 11.5 hours at their desks. That’s a huge consequence for so few extra hours worked.
The Hartford reported on these findings and included other research that proves the #nevernotworking culture (a hashtag for which there are 310,000 posts on Instagram) doesn’t work:
- Our brains are not wired to multitask, and decision-making quality drops when we’re tired.
- When you clock in more than 50-55 hours a week, your cognitive performance and the quality of your work suffers.
- When employees see their bosses constantly stressed, frazzled, tired, and tapped out, they will mimic that behavior until they suffer from burnout themselves.
Another fascinating finding—this one reported by the Harvard Business Review—is that working excessive hours doesn’t result in more work getting done. One Boston University study shows that managers can’t tell the difference between employees who actually worked 80 hours a week and those who just pretended to work that much.
At Steven Bankler, CPA, Ltd., we protect our employees’ free time veraciously. Fridays are routinely half days, and strict, early deadlines for tax return materials ensures our employees aren’t left working 80-hour weeks at tax time. And you know what? It makes for happier employees, but it also makes for happier clients because our staff is rested, focused, valued, and eager to help.
If a CPA firm can find balance, so can your company. If you’re a business owner, ask yourself if you’re unfairly setting a precedence of overworking at your company. Then, ask yourself if these employees are actually getting more done or if this culture is, instead, killing productivity and, perhaps, the people themselves.