Overworked workers bad for health and economy
I am glad that Sen. Grace Poe is looking into the possible negative effects of “overwork” on Filipino workers. It’s about time. While working excessively might be bad for health, evidence suggests that it is also detrimental to production.
For example, a study was done in Great Britain during the early years of World War II. In the factories where laborers worked 66 hours a week, morale was poor, absenteeism and sick leaves were up, spoiled work and accidents were increasing, and the workers seemed edgy and quarrelsome.
When the number of work hours per week was reduced to 54, output remained the same, but morale improved while absenteeism, sick leaves, spoiled work and accidents dropped. The workers also appeared happy. When the number of work hours was further reduced to 48, production went up 15 percent. At the same time, morale and general wellbeing further went up, while absenteeism, sick leaves, spoiled work and accidents further went down.
Similar findings were seen wherever this experiment was tried.
Evidently, working too hard reduces performance, and reducing fatigue increases output. If this is true, an overworked employee must work less to accomplish more.
That is why I look forward to government acting to regulate the number of work hours, not only for workers’ health, but also for industrial and national productivity, which will significantly contribute to our economic development.
JORI GERVASIO R. BENZON, [email protected]
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