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How many hours a day can you work
How many hours a day can you work

Working 12 hours a day will not make you more productive. But you run the risk of hating your life and undermining your health.

How many hours a day can you work so as not to harm your health and not burn out
How many hours a day can you work so as not to harm your health and not burn out

Overwork can not only make money, but also harm mental and physical health. Life hacker tells how to avoid this.

How working hours are related to burnout

Burnout is not a medical diagnosis, but a specific type of stress. Often it is associated with work. This is the Job burnout state: How to spot it and take action. Mayo Clinic. physical and emotional exhaustion, combined with a feeling of lack of time and a feeling of inner emptiness.

Occupational burnout is included in the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases. WHO recognizes that work is good for the psyche, but points out that an unfavorable work environment can affect a person's physical and mental health. According to the organization, about 264 million people worldwide suffer from depression and anxiety disorders, which cost the global economy $ 1 trillion.

Job burnout: How to spot it and take action can be the consequences of burnout at work. Mayo Clinic. to be:

  • excessive stress, fatigue, anger, irritability, cynicism;
  • depression;
  • insomnia;
  • alcohol and substance abuse, as well as overeating;
  • heart disease and high blood pressure;
  • the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus;
  • weakening of immunity.

Many people who experience burnout feel that it is unrelated to their work. At the same time, high workload and overtime work are one Job burnout: How to spot it and take action. Mayo Clinic. of the risk factors for the development of this condition. Working hours are directly related to the classic type of burnout, when a person works harder and harder, trying to resolve professional issues or receive significant rewards. At the same time, this condition contributes to a deterioration in the productivity of the employee, an increase in tardiness and absenteeism.

How long can you work legally

According to the Labor Code of the Russian Federation, the duration of a normal working week should not exceed 40 hours. Also, the Labor Code sets additional restrictions on working hours for certain groups of people:

  • for minors - 24 hours for teenagers under 16, 35 hours for employees aged 16-18;
  • for disabled people of groups I and II - 35 hours;
  • for those working in hazardous and harmful working conditions of the third or fourth degree - 36 hours.

At the request of the employee, the employer must provide a part-time work week with proportional pay:

  • pregnant women;
  • one of the parents (guardians) of a child under 14;
  • family members caring for a sick relative.

In addition, the law establishes the duration of the work shift:

  • for minors - 4 hours at the age of 14-15, 5 hours from 15 to 16 and 7 hours from 16 to 18; for those combining work with study - 2 hours at the age of 14-16 years and 4 hours for 16-18 years old;
  • for disabled people - according to the medical report;
  • for workers in hazardous and hazardous industries - 8 hours for a 36-hour work week and 6 for a 30-hour work week (12 and 8 hours with a special agreement);
  • for artists, media workers and cultural institutions - according to the agreement.

Before public holidays, the duration of the shift is reduced by 1 hour, and if it is impossible to do this, the worked time is compensated later. With a six-day work week, the shift before the weekend should not exceed 5 hours.

Why Working Longer You Won't Do More

The productivity of any person has a limit. By working longer, you will not always be more efficient.

The classic 40-hour workweek has long been recognized as ineffective. Back in 1930, the famous economist John Maynard Keynes suggested that in 2030 the workweek would be only 15 hours, because economic and technological progress would make it possible.

In 2016, the Savage M. experiment was conducted in nursing homes in Sweden. What really happened when Swedes tried six-hour days? BBC. by introducing a six-hour working day, but keeping employees' salaries intact. Beyond this time, they were replaced by additional hired workers. As a result, nurses became more productive and took less time off. Many of the staff involved in the experiment were upset by the news that it was over and that it was necessary to return to the eight o'clock day.

However, this mode is not convenient for everyone: the head of the Swedish technology company Eric Gatenholm tried Savage M. What really happened when Swedes tried six-hour days? BBC. inculcate innovation in your production. Gatenholm was dissatisfied with the results: employees complained that they had backlog of work.

In November 2019, Microsoft Japan published Microsoft's four-day work week ‘boosts productivity’. BBC. the results of an experiment with the introduction of a four-day working week. It turned out that thanks to this, productivity increased by 40%. No wonder it was the Japanese division of Microsoft that conducted this experiment: Japan is a country in which overtime is considered the norm and amounts to more than 80 hours per month per person.

A large study on the relationship between working hours and productivity was released in 2014 by Stanford University economist John Penkevel. He compared workers from the early 20th century to those of today, and concluded that focus on a task is much more important for an employee today than in the past, and it starts to deteriorate after 6 hours of work a day and 40 hours a week.

The rise and fall of productivity during the working day
The rise and fall of productivity during the working day

Earlier, another study by Finnish doctors found a link between working more than 55 hours a week and a decrease in cognitive abilities.

How the length of the working day affects our health

In 2017, Australian medical professionals published a study based on a survey of about 8,000 working people. Scientists have concluded that a work week longer than 39 hours is detrimental to mental and physical health. For women, who also do all the housework, they set the work week at 34 hours. And a study published in The Lancet found the following pattern: people who work more than 55 hours a week are 33% more likely to suffer from strokes and 13% more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease.

Health effects can also be specific when working under certain conditions. Let's consider them below.

When working at a computer

In Russia, the norms for working at a computer are spelled out in SanPiN 2.2.2 / 2.4.1340-03 and "Standard instructions for labor protection when working on a personal computer."

According to them, it is recommended:

  • spend no more than 6 hours a day at the computer;
  • take 10-15 minute breaks every 45-60 minutes;
  • continuously stay at the computer for no more than an hour (according to the SanPiN standards) or 2 hours (according to the "Typical instructions").

Long-term sitting at the computer primarily harms the musculoskeletal system and vision. Prolonged motionless position leads to overstrain of the spine and its curvature, the development of osteochondrosis and radiculitis. Long hours of work at the computer unnecessarily strain the muscles of the eyes, the amount of tear fluid decreases (dry eye syndrome), pain appears in the eyes, and vision deteriorates (computer visual syndrome). Prolonged keyboard and mouse use can also hurt your fingers, hands, wrists, and shoulders.

To avoid these negative effects, take frequent breaks and recharge during your work day, arrange your computer space properly, and also try not to sit in front of the monitor for longer than recommended.

When working while sitting

Prolonged sitting leads to stagnation of blood, and this, in turn, leads to tissue disruption, damage to the walls of blood vessels and hemorrhoids.

When you sit for a long time, you use less energy. What are the risks of sitting too much? Mayo Clinic. the risk of developing a whole bunch of ailments: obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure) and cardiovascular diseases, high blood sugar and cholesterol, even cancer. People who sit for more than 8 hours a day continuously have the same risks of premature death as those who are obese or who smoke.

Physical activity for 60-75 minutes a day significantly reduces what are the risks of sitting too much? Mayo Clinic. the likelihood of negative consequences. It is also worth taking breaks every 30 minutes during sedentary work.

When working while standing

Standing work burns twice as many calories as sedentary work. But at the same time, it can also harm health no less, since it significantly increases the load on the spine and feet.

Prolonged standing on your feet increases the risk of chronic venous insufficiency, varicose veins, pain in the lower back and feet, and complications during childbirth. The optimal time you can spend on your feet in a day is 2 to 4 hours.

It should be understood that long-term means continuous standing on your feet for more than 8 hours without moving.

For long standing work, do not choose flat shoes. Experts recommend that you put your shoes on so that the heel is at least 6 mm above the rest of the foot, while the heel should not be higher than 5 cm.

Also work shoes should If You Work on Your Feet. Healthline. be your size and support the arch of your foot. You can buy special orthopedic insoles.

The best prevention of violations is to combine sedentary and standing work. And after a long standing on your feet, do a warm-up: stretch on your toes, stretch the muscles of the foot. After a working day, it is advisable to massage your legs or lift them up for 15–20 minutes to restore normal blood flow.

If you feel pain in your legs and it does not go away within a few days, see your doctor.

When working outdoors

Working outdoors and in unheated rooms refers to special working conditions, as it can cause general or local hypothermia. Both disrupt coordination and the ability to perform precise operations, cause inhibitory processes in the cerebral cortex, and contribute to the development of pathologies.

According to the Labor Code, the employer is obliged to provide working conditions that do not harm the health of employees, in particular, provide paid breaks for heating and rest.

The duration of the breaks must be specified in the employment contract. The temperature in the heating room should be around 21–25 ° C. The norms for the duration and frequency of breaks are set out in the recommendations of Rostrud. According to them, even at a temperature of -10 ° C, every 2 hours, you should take 10-minute breaks for heating.

For non-compliance with these requirements, the employer faces a fine of up to 5 thousand rubles for individuals and up to 50 thousand for legal entities.

When working at night

Night work may Price M. The risks of night work. Monitor on Psychology. American Psychological Association. cause anxiety, drowsiness, fatigue, inattention and metabolic disturbances in the body. It knocks down circadian rhythms - the body's internal biological clock, which is responsible for the body's transition to a state of sleep and wakefulness.

Evolutionarily, it so happened that our body is adapted to rest in the dark. Therefore, even prolonged sleep after a night shift will not help compensate for its lack. Moreover, the violation of circadian rhythms leads to the fact that about 6% of the DNA chromosomes are malfunctioning, that is, at the wrong time. At the same time, long work shifts (24 hours each, for example) are no less harmful. And fatigue, in turn, increases the risk of heart disease and cancer, and addiction to cigarettes and alcohol.

Circadian rhythms are difficult enough Price M. The risks of night work. Monitor on Psychology. American Psychological Association. shift so that the body adapts to night wakefulness. To do this, you will have to work in bright light at night, and during the day to wear dark glasses and sleep in a room where light does not penetrate at all. Most people will fail. To avoid the negative consequences of working at night, it is much more effective to conduct Hammond C. Is working at night bad for you? BBC. a healthy lifestyle: include sports in the daily routine, eat right and give up bad habits.

By law, when working at night (from 10 pm to 6 pm), the working day is reduced by an hour, and this is equivalent to one shift during the day. Pregnant women and minors are not allowed to work at night. Women with a child under three years of age, disabled people and parents of disabled children, as well as workers caring for sick relatives, are allowed to work at night upon the conclusion of a doctor. Single parents and guardians of children under five years of age are allowed to work in the dark only with their written consent and in the absence of medical contraindications.

Remember that work is not the only thing that matters in life. A balance of work, rest and personal time will help you enjoy every day and get less sick.