Working longer and longer makes accidents more likely, boosts stress levels, and even causes physical pain. But the real problem is that many people just can’t afford not to do it.
According to latest International Labour Organization statistics, more than 400 million employed people worldwide work 49 or more hours per week, a sizeable proportion of the near 1.8 billion total employed people worldwide, reports the BBC in a recent story.
In a recent interview with The New York Times, even entrepreneur Elon Musk claimed to describe his 47th birthday spent locked in his factory, pulling an all-nighter. “No friends, nothing,” he said. It might have been just another day in another 120-hour work week. “This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids. And seeing friends,” he added.
For some of his fans, this is just the price of being Silicon Valley’s current demi-god, the pioneer simultaneously pursuing the colonisation of Mars and creating an affordable and mass-produced electric car.
But wearing exhaustion like a badge of honour sets a dangerous precedent. Hustling over long hours and weekends has become a staple of start-up culture in Silicon Valley - hence, it has also filtered out to many parts of the world.
The problem is that this 'long hours' culture likely defeats the purpose of getting more things done, or at least puts a very hefty price on doing them. There is plenty of evidence that working overtime reduces your productivity, and makes you feel and actually be less healthy. It also make you more likely to develop a whole range of diseases.