Last year a major study by scientists at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, found that those whose working days that were longer than the traditional eight hours had a 40 to 80 per cent greater chance of heart disease.
The warning followed analysis of 12 studies dating back as far as 1958, involving a total of 22,000 people from around the world.
Lead researcher Dr Marianna Virtanen said the effects could be due to ‘prolonged exposure to stress’. Other triggers could be poor eating habits and lack of exercise and physical activity due to restricted leisure time.
This research is particularly pertinent to the UK, as we work some of the longest hours in Europe, with full-time employees averaging 42.7 a week, and those in a management role work even longer.
So what commitments are you going to make to yourself in 2013?
Frequently the big problem for people in a management role is that they feel that there isn’t anybody that they can leave their job to when they decide to take a break.
However, as a manager it is vital to have structures and systems in place that allow you to take a step back when you need to. This means delegating responsibilities to others and giving them the power to make decisions (and also mistakes!). It also requires personal discipline to turn mobiles off as well as refrain from picking up emails when away on holiday. Being in constant touch with work is not healthy in the long run as it doesn’t give you the opportunity to relax.
This requires managers to move from working ‘in their function, department or business’ to working ‘on their function, department or business’. This can be difficult, challenging as well as stressful, particularly if the new skills they need to do this do not match what they are good at.
One of the secrets therefore is to work out what particular aspect of your work is causing you most pressure and then get help with it. This may mean using a coach to guide you or investing in learning and development for yourself to lead and manage your team more effectively. Alternatively, it could mean hiring someone to take on certain responsibilities or possibility sub contracting them to a specialist firm
What ever you decide, for your own personal health and well being it is important to do something. Even doing small things can make a big difference. However, it is also vital to recognise the worst thing that you can do is do nothing. So make a commitment to yourself in 2013, only work on the most important things personally, delegate the rest and you will find you will achieve more and work fewer hours.