A recent study published in the European Heart Journal found a link between long working hours and an increased risk of atrial fibrillation (AFib). Given that this multi-cohort study analyzed data from studies conducted in Europe and, knowing that Americans work nearly 25% more hours than Europeans, U.S. employers should seriously consider these numbers as a wake-up call to the potential dangers of long work hours.
After 10 years of following participants’ heart health data, researchers found that while the incidence rate among the total number of participants was 12.4 per 1,000 people, it rose to 17.6 per 1,000 people among those working 55 hours a week or more. What does this boil down to? Individuals engaging in long working hours were 40% more likely to be develop AFib than those who worked less (and likely had a better work-life balance).
Regardless of the unique lengths of time a job might require on a weekly basis, managers should make a significant effort to help employees maintain a healthier work-life balance. Efforts can include encouraging physical activity, avoiding sending work-emails after work-hours, and providing flextime options for employees to have a greater say in shaping their own schedule.