Ping. Ping. Finish email. Ping. Add another item to the to-do list. Ping. Open up Zoom meeting. Ping. Ping. Pause meeting to deal with child’s crayon emergency. Return to meeting. Delay incoming query from Peter in IT while on fire-fighting call to site manager. Bookmark this article for later. Ping…
Sound familiar? The modern workplace is a swamp of multitasking. Agility may be all the rage, but that soon becomes a distant dream for anyone bogged down in competing demands and distractions. This ‘busy-ness’ can be a serious problem.
When new items are constantly added to an already bulging to-do list, people can quickly become overloaded, overwhelmed and over it. Being this busy can have a detrimental effect on people’s personal efficiency, productivity and performance, and that of their team.
And, it can have a serious impact on our health.
The diagnosis? A strong case of post pandemic syndrome
Japan has had such a problem with overwork since the early 1970s, that the country has adopted a word to categorise the deaths it causes: karoshi. Karoshi most often comes from heart failure, stroke or suicide.
There was a time when Japan, with its famously particular work culture, would have appeared as an outlier. Those days are now gone. A study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Labour Organisation found that 745,000 people around the world died in 2016 from stroke and heart disease as a direct result of having worked at least 55 hours a week.
And things haven’t gotten any better since.
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