Can Overworking Make You Sick?

Overworking is a common issue. According to a study, around 48 percent of American workers feel mentally and physically exhausted by the end of the workday. This is a large chunk of the entire country’s workforce. 

This creates a number of problems, including sickness. Keep reading to find out more about being overworked and discover some steps you can take to solve it. 

Related: Revolutionizing Patient Engagement & Empowerment

What Is Overworking?

Overworking is a type of burnout that is felt by many workers. Generally, it comes from the impression that an individual is constantly working yet never getting enough done. 

Typically, this problem manifests because a person works too hard for too long. They may work long hours for multiple days in a row. Or, they may be doing too much work outside work hours. 

Overworking can then cause a variety of problems. Some of these problems are smaller and relate to how a person works. However, others are more significant and can impact an individual’s health or even a company’s corporate wellness

What Leads to Overwork?

a photo of a stressed woman

There are a lot of problems that will lead to overwork. However, a few key issues tend to exacerbate the problem more than others. 

Chasing More Work

Some work is entirely necessary and is a key part of the job. However, some work only exists because people chase after it. 

This comes from tasks that relate to the job but aren’t necessary. For example, constantly checking in with people or continuously reorganizing things feels helpful but ultimately distracts from the task at hand. 

Always Being on the Clock

Some employees don’t stop working when they leave the office. They continue emailing, calling, or doing other work-related tasks long outside of work hours. In fact, workers average 9.2 hours of unpaid overtime each week. 

Learning how to detach from the office is necessary to help with this. Otherwise, it leads to employees feeling like they are constantly working. 

Problems Working with Team Members

Working with others can be a great way to accomplish tasks collaboratively. However, it can also lead to disaster. 

If someone has problems working with team members, it may lead to them doing more work. They may delegate less or simply do the work of others. This puts more pressure on them because they are doing the work of multiple people. 

Our corporate wellness solutions can help you fight overwork. Schedule a consultation to see how we can help you keep your employees healthy and happy!

Unclear Responsibilities and Goals

When goals and responsibilities are unclear, it is very hard to accomplish the right amount of work. Instead, many employees go far beyond what is necessary to ensure they do enough. 

Symptoms to Watch Out For

In most situations, overworking is more mental than it is physical. A person may look fine yet is tremendously overworked. Because of this, it can be hard to determine if an individual is overworked.

Luckily, there are a few key signs that indicate someone is overworked. All good community health approaches should be aware of these. 

Sleep problems are a key indicator. Often, these manifest as insomnia. However, they may also appear through a disrupted sleep cycle. Some people who are overworked even express the belief that they feel their sleep is unimportant, especially compared to the work they have to do. 

Distraction is another sign. Overworked employees will be less focused than other employees. 

Sickness is one physical indicator. Overworked employees deal with compromised immune systems. This causes them to be sick more often than others. 

Lethargy is another key indicator. People who are overworked end up feeling like they have no energy. 

Mood swings are another common sign. These may come from the work itself or the sleep problems created by overworking. 

Related: The Xcellent Life Leadership Team

What Are the Consequences of Being Overworked?

Being overworked is a problem for everyone involved. This is because the consequences of being overworked extend from the employee to the employer. 

The main consequence is a higher level of stress. This is an issue that cascades down and creates a range of different issues. This is typically what leads to sleep problems and mood swings. 

Stress also dramatically impacts health. It causes an increase in sickness, as stress damages the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens and leads to more sickness. Stress also has the potential to lead to long-term issues, like heart disease or high blood pressure. 

Exhaustion is another consequence. Those who are overworked have no energy for the work that they do. This leads to lower-quality work and a reluctance to take on more work. 

Being overworked even leads to poor mental health. Those suffering in this way may experience dark thoughts or even develop depression. 

What to Do About Being Overworked

a man having a conversation with his boss

When someone is overworked, it can be hard to fix the problem. However, there are a few key steps that help. 

For one, the individual should avoid taking on more work. If someone already has enough on their plate, piling on more won’t help. Learning how to say no is one of the most important things any overworked person can do. 

Working with others can also help. Earlier, we discussed how refusing to delegate or share work with a group causes an individual to be overworked. Righting these wrongs sets them on the correct path. 

An overworked person should also take a break now and then. Simply stepping away from work and relaxing can help them reset. Taking on a hobby or simply taking time to enjoy life helps even more. Doing these things will allow them to feel distanced from work for a while and avoid feeling like they are constantly working. 

Finally, an overworked person may want to consider therapy. Talking things out with a therapist is a great way to resolve many mental health issues. Companies who want to encourage helping their employees this way should also consider including mental health coverage with their insurance

Related: Xcellent Life Across America Initiative

How to Talk to Your Boss

If you feel overworked, you may need to talk to your boss. Doing so will allow you to take some of the above steps to start fixing the problem. 

When talking to your boss, make sure you are clear. Highlight what you do for the company already. Then, explain what is making you feel overworked. Work with them to devise a solution or present one of your own. 

Avoid Getting Sick from Overworking

Being overworked can make you sick. In fact, it can go beyond that and damage your mental health and overall job performance. 

To avoid this, it is necessary to start making positive changes. Take breaks and step away from work when needed. Make sure to communicate the issue with your boss as well, so they can help. 

By avoiding overworking, you will spend less time sick and more time enjoying life. This is a positive change anyone dealing with the issue should seek to make!

Have questions about Xcellent Life’s solutions? Get in touch with us here!