We live in a hyperconnected world. With just one click or one swipe, we can reach a friend from the other side of the globe or meet someone new. But also with just one click, a supposedly restful weekend is interrupted with the call of duty. It’s good for businesses but not for employees.
In a study from the Journal of Epidimiology and Community Health, researchers have found that long work hours and weekend shifts may increase the risk of depression.
The researchers examined 11,215 men and 12,188 women in the UK between 2010 and 2012. They found that women who work on weekends are more prone to depression than their peers who only work on weekdays, especially when they dislike the working conditions.
For Sabir Giga of Lancaster University, the connection between long work hours and depression may be attributed to loss of time for relaxation and social activities outside work.
“This could be through taking regular breaks whilst working, prioritizing your work, learning to say ‘no’ and not over-committing yourself, working from home or flexibly when possible, communicating regularly and openly with family members, partners and colleagues, and meaningfully switching off and making the most of your time when away from work,” Giga tells Reuters.
On the other hand, employers and managers also have the responsibility of alleviating the burden of work from their employees. “We need to move from a culture of unrealistic demands and low rewards to one in which workers are supported and valued, feel they have control, feel they have purpose, and are allowed sufficient time for recovery and leisure,” study lead Gillian Weston says.
And here’s a reminder for all of us. Don’t wait for something bad to happen before you learn the lesson of leaving work in the office. Work will never stop from coming, but it can always wait.
Art by Aira Ydette