It is apparent that putting in more hours for office work is becoming a common scenario among employees - particularly those in the initial stages of their corporate careers.
A large number of full-time employers are assigning work that goes beyond the general standard 40-hour work week to their employees.
However, the problem lies when this overwork is characterised as 'hustle', or 'grind' by many of these employees. There lies a preconceived idea that people must hustle in life to be successful, which has incidentally translated to this glorification of working more office hours.
This glorification has enabled employees accepting, and in some cases being proud of the extra work hours. However, this glorification is detrimental to employees and society at large.
Improper work-life balance
Putting in more hours at work entails having less personal time. This can reduce the quality of life by conflicting with quality time for family and other responsibilities.
The additional work hours can also induce added stress, which can adversely affect an individual's personal relationships with family, friends, and loved ones. Hence an improper work- life balance is difficult to sustain in the long run and can lead to feelings of non fulfilment.
Lower productivity and fatigue
Working more hours does not necessarily lead to more productive hours. Several studies show that working long hours can in fact lead to fatigue and burnout.
This can hamper overall productivity enabling people to fall behind in their duties and get less overall work done. An experiment by Ford Motor Company demonstrated the point in the 1990s by carrying out a series of studies.
The studies found that every additional 20 hours of work above the recommended 40 hours resulted in an increase in productivity only for three to four weeks before productivity turned negative.
Adverse mental health implications
Working more hours has been linked with various mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety, which can result in the formation of a negative work environment.
Missing out on long term personal gains
Working hard does not need to be limited to simply cashing in more office hours in one's current job. It can have a more diverse definition.
One can work hard and spend additional time learning and growing new skills, researching new sectors, educating themselves on important technical skills etc.
When an individual is allocating too many daily hours for office work, he or she does not have the free time to develop themselves outside their work. This learning outside of their work can have more personal yield in the long run than more allocation of hours to office work.
Exploitation by employers
The last but definitely the most significant negative effect of the glorification is that it allows employers to assign more work without offering any additional or incremental benefits.
Most exploitations can fall under contemporary terms like 'competitive corporate culture' which attempt to justify and normalise the idea that it is absolutely normal for employees to work the extra hours.
And in most cases, the idea is ingrained and sold effectively to the people that even the victims - who allow themselves to be exploited - actually believe it.
Furthermore, glorifying long working hours leads to more people believing, selling, and creating a culture where people do not realise when they are being exploited.
Now, I understand there are many readers who genuinely enjoy the work they are doing and love putting up the extra hours. This is admirable.
The purpose of this write-up is not to dissuade anyone from putting in more work hours voluntarily, or discouraging someone from doing their current work productively.
Rather it is simply to raise awareness against the glorification that lies behind working more hours -leading to the belief that working more hours is good and something to be proud of blindly - which in turn can lead to the abovementioned negative impacts and create scopes for exploitation in the workplace.