You probably didn’t know this, but there’s a national day known as the “Leave Work Early Day.” It’s not a national holiday. So, don’t expect your employer to allow you to leave work early on that day. Nevertheless, it’s something that would get you thinking about the time we leave work and how the late hours affect our lives.
One survey by Gallup, for instance, shows that the average American works 47 hours a week. That’s seven hours more than the standard 40-hour week. Worse still, 4-in-10 people work over 50 hours a week.
Working that long may be beneficial for the employer, but it comes with damaging consequences for the workers. Among others, Psychology Today says that working too long can lead to chronic fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, pessimism, depression, and even apathy. All these factors can negatively impact your health and are a reason you should consider reducing your working hours.
There’s nothing more important in life than your family. Families are the very essence of life. It’s the reason we’re here in the first place. You need to spend as much time as you can with your children, parents, siblings, and the rest.
Yet, many of us now spend more time at work than we spend with our families. One White House study released a few years ago says that both parents are employed in six out of ten American households, which means that they don’t see each other for the better part of the day. It also shows that many people are working two or more jobs to make ends meet. Caregivers in eldercare facilities, for instance, have full-time jobs elsewhere.
So, when are these people supposed to spend time with their families? When would they play with the kids and cook for the family?
Homeownership is a dream for many Americans, which is a great thing because having a home comes with endless benefits. But, to own a home, you also need to sacrifice a lot. According to one CNBC article, the average American needs to save about 20% of their salary for 6 ½ years to finance the home’s down payment. Some take a decade or longer. After that, you have to pay the mortgage for 20+ years.
Imagine sacrificing so much only not to have time to take care of the investment! It just doesn’t feel right. You should spend as much time as possible tending to the property. When you spend all your time at work, you won’t be able to care for the property.
Keep in mind also that the less time you spend caring for the home, the greater the potential for value loss. Some reports show that the property could lose up to 10% of its value in a year through poorly maintenance alone. That is enough reason to leave work early every time an opportunity avails itself.
Yes, working too much can negatively and severely affect your health. Among the health issues associated with long working hours are cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, depression, and sleep disorder.
In one study which has since been published in the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), it was found that people who work more than 50 hours a week have an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases associated with the brain, myocardial infarction, and coronary heart disease. Meanwhile, those who work more than 61 hours are at an increased risk of systolic blood pressure. Depression and anxiety risk also increase as soon as your working hours go past 34 hours a week.
Another health issue associated with long working hours is occupational injury. When people spend too much time at work, the risk of workplace injuries significantly increases. Leaving work early doesn’t necessarily make impossible to get hurt your chances are reduced.
Humans aren’t robots. We have feelings. We have thoughts. And, we have memories. Even when you’re at work, you’ll occasionally experience these feelings, thoughts, and memories. You could be on the computer, but thinking about your family. It’s also possible that you’re serving customers, but you can’t take your mind off your approaching wedding.
It happens. It’s normal for the mind to veer off to distant worlds. What isn’t normal is leaving work early to attend to those other aspects of your life that are constantly playing in your mind.
Interestingly, even if you choose to stay at work with all those thoughts in your mind, you’re unlikely to be very productive. Reports show that 89% of employees who are distracted in such a manner end up doing nothing useful at work. 30% of these people waste as much as 60 minutes thinking about those other scenarios. If you leave work early when in such a state to help work out the stressing issue, you’ll be more at peace.
It’s funny but true – the majority of Americans don’t take their vacation benefits. A study by Project Time Off shows that 55% of workers didn’t use their vacation last year, and a similar number (or more) won’t use their vacation benefits this year. It amounts to an astounding 658 million unused vacation days. What’s worse, 222 million of those lost vacation days won’t roll over to next year.
What are the consequences of these unused vacation days? First, it results in $64.1 billion in forfeited benefits. Secondly, it limits economic growth. The Project Time Off study says it takes $223 billion off national spending. Above all, it limits job growth. When you’re always in the office, your organization doesn’t need to hire many people. In the end, about 1.6 billion jobs are lost.
So, you can see why leaving work early makes sense. It’s good for you, it’s good for the economy, and it’s good for job seekers.
You don’t always need to work long hours. Fine, you may occasionally need to stay late to finish a few things. But working late every day? It isn’t good for anyone, especially you. Always leave work early when you can.