Why the Corporate World Needs to Stop Glorifying Long Work Hours

Burnout is now a legitimate medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) made the declaration in the latter part of May 2019. In the International Classification of Diseases, WHO says burnout is a medical syndrome, which stems from chronic workplace stress that an employee manages unsuccessfully.

Cases of employees reporting burnout have increased at an alarming rate over the years, which led to WHO turning its attention to workplace stress. The American Institute of Stress reveals 29 percent of workers get stressed at work while 26 percent say they often feel burned out by their work.

The Glorification of the “Hustle”

The hustle, the grind, “get that bread” – these are all just euphemisms for one thing: overworking. Despite the negative impacts of working too hard too much, people still seem to brag about the extra long hours they spend in the office. The co-founder of Reddit Alexis Ohanian called the “hustle craze” as one of the most dangerous and toxic things in the tech industry today, especially in Silicon Valley.

An article by Forbes says, at best, this culture pushes Americans to become self-sufficient and more passionate about their work, thus improving their overall happiness. But at worst, this mindset only perpetuates a culture that forces sleep-deprived, highly caffeinated, and anxiety-ridden workers to prioritize work over everything else, including their mental and physical well-being.

Things in excess are never good. Rather than feeling fulfilled, the work-till-you-drop culture leads to an extremely imbalanced life. Ohanian personally told the story of how he fell into depression due to trauma when he was still building Reddit. Instead of taking care of himself and seeking help, he focused on his work. He urges fellow entrepreneurs to reject this kind of mindset and instead actively work on bettering themselves health-wise.

Workplace Stress and Burnout

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Excessive workplace stress has different causes, but some of the more common ones are job insecurity, overly demanding workloads, office culture, negative workplace relationships, and toxic bosses. Burnout can cause muscle tension, stomachaches, headaches, reduced professional performance, and alienation from work activities. It can also cause emotional impacts, such as constant anxiety, stress, frustration, and loneliness.

Eventually, burnout can cause conditions like depression and chronic fatigue. Employees can get therapy or RedRiver Health & Wellness Center to reduce symptoms.  And some may even be able to apply for disability benefits.  

Tech isn’t the only industry with an overworked culture; it’s an epidemic that spans different industries. Medscape’s 2019 report reveals that out of 15,000 U.S. doctors, 44 percent were experiencing burnout symptoms. Burnout can also affect even those who love their jobs. In Deloitte’s marketplace survey for burnout, 87 percent of professionals say that they are passionate about their work, but 64 percent of those admit that they still feel frequently stressed.

The same study revealed that a lot of professionals feel that their employers are not addressing the workplace stress within their organization. Only several companies offer programs or activities that can alleviate the stress of the employees.

Companies need to start taking better care of their workers. They may not be aware, but they lose thousands of dollars in profit because of stressed, overworked employees. Being more attentive to their needs and establishing a safe, humane workplace will provide benefits for both the worker and the business.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.