Working overtime is nothing new for small business owners. As a matter of fact, it is almost a given they will put in more than the 40 hours most people work. According to the MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index, owners were putting in 70 hours each week.
So, the study from Sleep Junkie exploring the effects of overworking is a timely report as the busy holiday season fast approaches. How many hours are Americans putting in?
According to this report, the highest percentage of Americans (54%) work on average 40-49 hours per week. Another 22% work 50-59 hours, and there is 9% who are burning the candle at both ends with more than 60+ hours. In contrast, there is a group (14%) who work less than 40 hours every week.
The amount of time you put in greatly depends on what stage of development your business is in. If you are a startup, the 60+ hours are commonplace. However, if you are more established with a well-oiled machine, you are probably one of the 14% working less than 40 hours.
Hours Worked Statistics
Sleep Junkie started the survey with 2,841 people, which it then narrowed to a primary group of 1,036 individuals. Of these, 529 say the work 40-49 hours weekly, 358 work 50-59 hours, and 149 work 60 plus hours.
The weekly hours also include side jobs and other sources of income.
One of the most revealing data points from the survey is long hours don’t translate to earning more money. The people who worked 60+ hours earned less ($46,400) annually than those working 40-49 hours at $48,297 and 50-59 hours at $51,816.
However, the majority of the people in the survey are satisfied with their primary jobs despite these conditions. The satisfaction rate starts at 70% for those working less than 40 hours and goes up to 74% for the group with 60+ hours.
The happiest of the bunch at 84% is the group working 50-59 hours, and those working 40-49 hours are at 81%.
Why the Long Hours?
The participants in the survey say they work the long hours because they have to. This was the case for two in three or 66% of the respondents, with the remaining 34% stating they choose to work the long hours.
With such long hours, sooner or later the negative impact of this practice will manifest themselves in different ways. Across the three groups working 40 or more hours, a high percentage of them say they feel physically and emotionally exhausted. It goes without saying those working the most hours are feeling this way in higher rates.
They are also aware of the long-term negative consequences of this type of workload. In this particular case, the data is split into blue- and white-collar workers. But it is the white-collar workers who are less concerned about the long hours.
The Impact in the Workplace
There is a clear correlation between fatigue and workplace accidents. In this survey, 1 in 4 people who worked 50+ hours said they had made a potentially hazardous error because of fatigue or stress.
By the same token, the majority of the respondents (63%) are not concerned the long hours will increase the odds of a work-related injury.
What is the Solution?
The answer is plainly obvious, but not everyone has the luxury of reducing their hours. People are working these hours because they have to. With that in mind, getting some quality sleep will go a long way in helping you cope with the long hours.
Getting the right mattress, sleeping the same time every day, not watching TV before you sleep, and exercise are some of the things you can do.
You can go to the National Sleep Foundation site and find some great tips on how to get the best sleep possible here.
Read the full report from Sleep Junkie here.
You should not overly dedicate yourself to working. Your life is not just all about work. Learn to find the balance.