The World Health Organization said this week that working longer hours has killed hundreds of thousands of people every year.
- This trend “may accelerate further due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” per Reuters.
- The WHO announced the findings based on a global study that reviewed how working long hours was connected to death, per Reuters.
How did people die from working hard?
The findings — published in the medical journal Environment International — found 745,000 people died from a stroke or heart attack because of longer work hours in 2016, according to Reuters. The research suggested people suffered more strokes and heart attacks because of longer work hours.
- “Working 55 hours or more per week is a serious health hazard,” said Maria Neira, director of the WHO’s department of environment, climate change and health, in a statement.
- “What we want to do with this information is promote more action, more protection of workers,” she said.
COVID and work:
- “The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the way many people work,“ he said. “Teleworking has become the norm in many industries, often blurring the boundaries between home and work. In addition, many businesses have been forced to scale back or shut down operations to save money, and people who are still on the payroll end up working longer hours. No job is worth the risk of stroke or heart disease. Governments, employers and workers need to work together to agree on limits to protect the health of workers.”
How to stay safe from work
So what can you do? Consider Jonathan Frostick, a U.K.-based regulatory professional and program manager at HSBC, who said he had a heart attack from working too much, according to Forbes. He said he was going to make some changes in his life to make sure he stayed healthy.
- “I’m not spending all day on Zoom anymore. I’m restructuring my approach to work,” he said.
- He added, “I want every day to count for something at work (or) else I’m changing my role. I want to spend more time with my family. And that, so far, is what near death has taught me.”