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Why it’s Okay to Say No to Overtime


Is overtime dragging you down?

Too much time on the job threatens your work/life balance. In worst-case scenarios, it also can jeopardize your health – and that’s far more important than keeping your inbox clear.

  • Research by The Lancet recently indicated that working 55 hours or more per week, as opposed to 40 hours or less, increased a person’s risk of having a stroke by one third. This was based on an analysis of more than 530,000 participants.
  • The same study showed a 13 percent rise in coronary heart disease in people who felt they could not say no to overtime and, as a result, put in 55-hour work weeks.
  • According to the long-running Whitehall II study, working too much overtime raises a person’s chances of suffering heart attacks and other cardiac conditions. The study has followed more than 10,000 workers since 1985. Results have shown a 60 percent increase in such illnesses as non-fatal heart attacks and angina in employees who have worked for three hours or more, beyond a normal seven-hour day. The Whitehall II study was reported in the European Heart Journal.

Work Smarter, Not Longer

Investigate ways to optimize your productivity on the job, within the time realm of a regular work week. Good health – and good performance – are built on consistently healthy habits.

  • Take a critical look at your to-do list. Prioritize tasks and lose any non-essential duties.
  • Be flexible and accommodating, but keep it real. You should be a good team player when asked to take on occasional extra work. And, especially in healthcare, unexpected emergencies demand adaptability. But, there’s a point beyond which it’s reasonable for you to push back. A good manager will understand and be willing to compromise for everyone’s benefit.
  • Balance work and play. In Denmark and Norway people work an average of 200 hours less a year than in countries like England and the United States. As noted in Self, Danes generally refuse to have before or after-hours meetings or other work-related activities. The reason for this is profoundly simple: They value their personal time too highly. According to author Alexander Kjerulf, they “don’t celebrate overwork as a sign of commitment. Instead, they work smarter, not harder.” This is likely a leading factor in the five Scandinavian nations – Sweden, Finland and Iceland, along with Norway and Denmark – ranking among the UN’s top 10 happies countries.

How can you be your best on the job, while preserving a healthy work/life balance and at the same time, keeping your career on the right path? The MedicalPros Recruiting + Staffing team can help. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.

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