Health risks in long hours
ONE in four workers miss out on sleep and more than half experience adverse effects on their health and lifestyle because of their working hours.
New research from The Australia Institute, released ahead of Go Home On Time Day on November 21, shows people who work more than 30 hours a week are more than twice as likely as the rest of the workforce to experience negative effects on their lifestyle such as loss of sleep, stress and anxiety, bad moods, poor mental wellbeing and an inability to enjoy daily activities.
Its paper, An unhealthy obsession? The impact of work hours and workplace culture on Australia’s health, finds 2.9 million workers miss out on sleep and 3.2 million people experience stress and anxiety because of work conditions.
It reveals 58 per cent of workers experience at least one negative effect.
Executive director Richard Denniss says employers must understand stress and mental health issues are occupational health and safety risks.
Individuals also have to be more aware and take more responsibility in talking to their manager and colleagues about health issues, he says.
‘‘ There are a lot of re- sources in how employers can help their employees with mental health issues and prevention is always better than cure,’’ Denniss says.
He says increased flexibility has blurred the line between home and work and workers find it hard to even know their ‘‘ knock-off’’ time.
Beyondblue chief executive Kate Carnell says the statistics were concerning.
‘‘ Physical safety in the workplace has been greatly improved . . . now we need employers to recognise that mental wellbeing is just as important,’’ Carnell says.
Workers need to talk to bosses and colleagues about health issues.