While there may only be 24 hours in a day, the reality as to how we spend the majority of our time is slightly off-putting. According to data pulled by the Bureau of labor statistics and National Gallup polls conducted in 2014 the average American works between 44-50 hours per week and around 9 hours per day at work. That is nothing compared to the average American working in a highly competitive industry or company owners who, on average, log an excess of 60 hours or more a week. With only 168 hours in a week, it is safe to say that we spend a large portion of our time at our jobs. Fortunately for the majority of American workers, we have not regressed back to the 1800s where the national average of hours worked a week was over 100!
All Work & No Play!
What are some of the downsides to logging too many hours at work? For those of us who love our jobs, it can be difficult to see a downside to spending more time in our happy place. However, without the appropriate amount of downtime, we are slowly weakening our immune systems. By now, I am sure you may have inferred from the tile some of the drawbacks associated with a weakened immune system. That’s right, we end up getting sick! With the frequency of illnesses on the rise, one would assume that the number of sick days would also see an increase. Oddly enough the average American is taking fewer sick days off!
Is Sharing Always Caring?
How is it possible? You guessed it, people are coming to work sick! For those of you who don’t see the harm in having sick employees toughing it out this article will help shine a light on why there are some things you just should not share. Employees that “tough it out” at work take, on average, twice as long to overcome the same illness as their associates who take the time needed to recover. Not only do sick employees spread their illness their productivity also takes a hit! Due to the fact that their bodies are actively waging war against unknown intruders while simultaneously trying to complete their normal daily tasks, it can be much harder to focus on the task at hand.
Divided We Fall.
When a person is sick, their body is dedicating the bulk of its resources to eliminating the internal threat. How is this a problem? There is a finite amount of resources readily available for the body to use and as a by-product, we can expect a delay in mental capacity and function. Think about how unproductive we tend to be when we find ourselves in a brain fog. Not to mention the work we did manage to complete often is full of mistakes or done improperly. The end result is that we end up having to dedicate even more time to the task that has already taken us twice as long as normal to complete. Evidently trying to finish the drill while ill can cause a dramatic decline in our productivity. But did you know that by not taking the time to heal ourselves we are actually putting ourselves at even greater risk?
The Best Offense is a Good Defense!
It helps to think of your body as if it were a castle. Any illness or infection would be seen as an invading force that is trying to get in. Luckily, our castles have built-in defensive capabilities. In this case, our immune systems act as high walls, a moat, archers, etc. With that in mind, when we find ourselves sick the mass majority of our defense is compromised during the battle. When we take the time to fight off the invaders naturally and replenish or restore our defenses we reduce the risk of the next siege taking over. However, for today’s busy American worker that chooses to tough it out, they no longer have a defense strategy in place for the next siege. The end result is that they get sick easier and are down for a much longer time frame.
What is the number one reason people don’t take the time off? In a survey conducted in 2017 by the labor statistics board, the number one reason people do not take a sick day is because they cannot afford to. The average American business provides their employees with between 2-5 paid sick days (the norm being 2 sick days). That does not include individuals that are considered to be free-lance or short-term contracts, these individuals on average receive no paid time off. With the cost of living constantly on the rise more and more employees find themselves having to weight the cost of call off. For most employees missing even one day can make or break them financially.
The Cost of Living
With employees frequently putting their health on the back burner they end up getting sick even more frequently. This is due to a mixture of excess stress (which naturally weakens your immune system) and not taking the needed time to recover from current or previous illnesses (meaning there is no longer any defenses around the castle). How is this the employer’s problem? Well, when you take into account the dramatic decline in productivity, increase in mistakes and errors, and the devastating loss of hours when employees immune systems finally throw in the towel and they end up having to take multiple days off in a row to recover; it is clear that employers need to take all the steps they can to prevent any office outbreaks!
How Can You Help?
What can employers do to help ensure their employees are happy and healthy? Well for starters, they can provide an area in the workplace that they can destress. There is a reason we are legally obligated to provide employees with breaks and time for lunches. We all need that time to decompress even when we may not show any signs of fatigue, this helps ensure our bodies defenses stay functioning at optimal efficiency. One of the best things we can do as employers is to offer an incentive for healthy lifestyle choices. Just like multiple health insurances, when you provide people with a monetary benefit to making healthier choices they are more likely to make them.
The Benefits of Kindness
How can we as employers provide healthier choices? The answer may be easier than you think. When it comes to catering lunch opt for healthy nutritious options. You can even reach out to companies regarding healthy snacks or drinks. You would be surprised how many of them will offer you an incentive to sell or sample out their products to your employees. You can provide them with health insurance that offers a price deduction for people who make healthy lifestyle choices. Get them to use Sweatcoin and have a competition on who can earn the most points in a month (with the winner receiving a health-related prize).
It Starts At Home!
It is important to note that we as employees will need to take the initiative in regards to our health. One of the best things we can do for our health is to ensure that we are providing our bodies with the proper nutrition. Be sure to check out the Best Holistic Life website for quick, easy, and healthy recipes. You can also check out AskDrDee.com for even more great health tips, tricks, and tasty recipes. Another great way to improve your immune system is by reducing your stress levels. Stress is one of the number one factors that leads to frequent illnesses and a decline in overall health. For even more great tips that are sure to improve your health make sure you subscribe. It’s free and there are so many amazing health experts providing you with great content that is sure to help you make the most out of every day.
As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me directly at DrDeeandMe@gmail.com. Or you can always leave a comment below and I will respond as quickly as possible. Your feedback is important to me. I love hearing from you guys and I like to provide you with content that is helpful and relevant to whatever your needs are. If you would like me to cover something specific please let me know in the comment section below. At the end of the day I work for you, so why not put me to work on something that you need right now?