Mental Health

October 2, 2013

HR4Business, encourages employers to consider employees Mental Health and the negative effects of working longer hours.

Small business owners and corporate organisations are notorious for working long hours and this can sometimes become part of the culture for employees as well. However, do these longer hours mean higher profits?

We can thank the Industrial Revolution and Dolly Parton for embedding the notion of a nine-to-five working day into our brains. However, the concept of working eight hours a day is alien to many employees. Australians donate 70 minutes of unpaid overtime each day to the Australian economy.

With businesses responding to increasingly competitive environments and the need to satisfy the demand of a 24/7 digital world, the 40-hour working week is a rare luxury for many offices. The economic downturn of recent years has also played a major part in redefining employee obligations and shifting our work patterns.

Employees who want to demonstrate their dedication and make themselves indispensable believe they can achieve this by going beyond the standard work hours. There is an increasing desire amongst workers to stay late into the night in order to meet demanding deadlines and prove their worth.  Working late has almost become a badge of honour.

However, organisations that allow or encourage a culture of working late or doing back-to-back shifts run the risk of creating unhappy employees, which may subsequently increase business expenses and reduce earnings. Extended operating hours do not always equate to bigger profits.

The real cost of working longer hours:

  • Absenteeism costs companies thousands each year – Despite recent research to the contrary, eight hours of sleep is widely regarded as optimal for peak performance the following day. Longer working hours leads to late nights and early starts, which is having a detrimental effect on employee health. Without sufficient sleep, a worker can develop a weaker immune system, leading to an increase in sick days.
  • Annual workplace bills rise with longer working hours – Working longer hours in the office runs up utility costs such as electricity, water and the consumption of other office provisions. Many businesses provide employees with complimentary food or transport when they work overtime, which also contributes to general expenses. By ensuring that your workers spend less overtime at the office, you will see your annual costs decrease.
  • Replacing staff can be a costly exercise – Workers who feel stressed can have a negative impact on the rest of the staff, who might not want to stay in a low-morale environment. The cost of staff turnover can be a huge hit for businesses not only in a financial sense, but also due to an increased workload for other employees.

A happy worker is a smarter worker

Employees that spend more time in the office and less time at home are likely to develop stress-related illnesses. However, when workers are happy, they are smarter and more competent.

HR4Business offers employers a range of services which may assist employers with Mental Health issues in the workplace. These include Mediation and Employee Assistance Services and assistance with the development of a Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, Mental Health and Wellbeing Policy and Mental Health Education Plan.

Contact HR4Business, HR Consultants Geelong on 03 5222 6695 or email us:

Mental Health Week 2013 is from the 7th to 11th of October 2013