German researchers studying the effects of people taking their work home with them at night or on weekends found that the workers were plagued by a host of issues, including cardiovascular problems, insomnia, headaches, muscular issues, fatigue, anxiety, and stomach problems, according to the Daily Mail. The study, published in the journal Chronobiology International, examined 57,000 people, more than half of whom worked past normal hours, largely driven by access to smartphones and computer tablets.
The researchers claim that the new advances in technology have prompted employers to expect their employees to be available at all hours, and asserted people’s bodies need purely recreational time to recover from work.
The authors, from the Society for Labour, Industrial and Organizational Psychological Research in Oldenburg, Germany, wrote:
Information and communication technologies, such as computers and smartphones… have the potential benefit and the potential inherent danger of making it possible for employees to be available any time and anywhere. This changes not only our work organization, but probably also our patterns of social participation and integration … Free time should be free time, otherwise it must be expected that it cannot fulfill functions of recovery and recuperation.
Lead author Dr Anna Arlinghaus said, “Our findings indicate that even a small amount of supplemental work beyond contractually agreed work hours can lead to health issues. The correlation is very strong.”
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