It’s no surprise that working too much isn’t good for you but did you know that working long hours can lead to depression? Of course, working the occasional long shift isn’t likely to cause any lasting mood problems but researchers have shown that working more than 11 hours a day on a regular basis can lower mood.
Interesting, but did we really need researchers to tell us this? Researchers found the depression to be more prevalent in female employees working lower job grades. It’s kind of obvious that if you’re doing a job that isn’t very rewarding in place of one that is (i.e. raising your children), your mood is bound to suffer. I also wonder if it’s really a causal relationship at all. Does working long hours itself cause depression or could it be the type of work the employee is doing? Could it be the absence of meaning in the employee’s life? Or could the lack of a healthy diet and exercise be to blame? When employees work long hours, they are not always able to take good care of themselves. As our bodies suffer, our minds and emotions often do too.
How to Prevent Overworking Your Employees
The great thing about tracking time online is that you can run reports over any time period to get an idea of how much overtime each employee works on average. This is handy both for trying to keep overtime low and for monitoring the overtime specific employees are putting in. In our system you would use the Post Pay Period report and run it over a date range for the employee in question. You could do this for a year or any chunk of time.
Keeping an eye on the frequency and duration employees work overtime is a good way to know if they are tipping over into the danger zone. While the study didn’t say specifically how long it takes before a person starts to develop the condition, depression might be avoided by reducing the overtime an employee works from time to time and by making sure employees take time off each year.
Keep Track of Time-Off
Employees who do work a lot of overtime need to be sure and get out for a vacation each year. Recent studies have shown that 40% of workers don’t take the full amount of vacation time allotted to them each year. This isn’t a good thing for any employee but it is even worse for those that are overworked. Track employee time off and see to it that they use it.
Of course, we make it really easy to do this. In our software, administrator’s can see a snap shot of all employees’ time-off balances and employees can make time-off requests in less than a minute. Now employees won’t get stuck working too much overtime or taking too little time-off.
Ensure Employees Are Happy
Besides vacations and working fewer hours, there are other things that help employees stay happy at work.
1. Be a great leader
Developing your own emotional intelligence will help you spot and troubled employees and correct problems.
2. Allow friendships and fun at work
Expecting people to turn off their humanity during work and not play, chat, or laugh at work is expecting too much. Humans need this and by allowing it, you’ll have higher employee retention and a more pleasant workplace.
3. Help employees be healthy
Offer immunity boosting foods at work and encourage healthy habits.
4. Offer meaningful tasks
Each employee should be given some job that he or she considers meaningful. Feeling that we are contributing to some greater good can sometimes be enough to combat depression all by itself.