You increase the risk of depression the more you do this one thing at work

A study suggests people who regularly work more than 11-hour days had over twice the chance of developing major depression compared to employees who worked about eight.

Is it just you and the office cleaners again? Amerisleep polled 1,188 workers, 90% of which have stayed late at work by at least 15 minutes, and 75% say they’ve had a job that’s asked too much of them.

Working late is common and often necessary; 66% of employees polled work late “sometimes” or “often.”


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People tolerate it – to an extent. Respondents consider one day a week working late and 29 minutes overtime “acceptable.”

Too much more may bum you out. The results of a study published in PLoS ONE in 2012 suggest that people who regularly work more than 11-hour days had over twice the chances of developing major depression, compared to employees who worked about eight hours a day.

A full 82% of respondents were asked, or pressured, by a manager to work late. Of those who felt “pressure,” to work late, 69% felt that their job was at risk if they didn’t do it.

Work smarter, not longer?

You may not even perform your best working late. According to a study, it’s easier to get stressed in the evening, because your body releases less cortisol – the body’s stress hormone – in the evening, as opposed to the morning.

The culture of working overtime slides into home life. Respondents said working late caused them to break promises to their spouse (56%), friend (55%), or child (48%). Because of working late:

  • 66% spent less time spent with family
  • 61% spent less time spent with spouse
  • 53% spent less leisure time at home

Researchers at Cornell University found that 10% of employees working more than 50 hours a week had serious issues at home. That percentage rose to 30% when they worked more than 60 hours.

Working late had a negative effect on the emotional well-being of 57% of workers, and the physical well-being of 54% of them.

A well-known study following over 10,000 civil servants in London found that overtime work is bad for the heart – people who worked three or more hours longer than a seven-hour day had a 60% higher risk of heart-related problems such as “death due to heart disease, non-fatal heart attacks, and angina.”

Of course, you don’t even want to know what terrible overtime-related malady they have in Japan: karoshi, or death from overwork.


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Sheila McClear|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at smcclear@theladders.com.