40 hour week 'burnout' risk

Work more than 40 hours a week? You're 6 times more likely to 'burn out' than those who work fewer than 35. New research from the Aragon Institute of Health Sciences in Spain shows that long hours increases the risk of "burnout syndrome": long-term exhaustion, a loss of interest in your work, and high levels of irritability. "This condition is increasing in prevalence in Spain and poses a serious problem to society because of the economic losses it causes and its consequences for health," says researcher Jesus Montero-Marin.

The Working Time Regulations put a normal ceiling on the working week of 48 hours, as well as giving you other rights, such as paid breaks and holiday. The rules are complicated though – for example, the 48 hours is taken as an average over several weeks – and there are different rules for different kinds of jobs. See our guide to your working time rights.

As well as this 'frenetic' burnout, researchers identified 'underchallenged' burnout syndrome, associated with monotonous tasks, and those who were 'worn out' after too long in the same job, frustrated by lack of recognition. Employees with more than 16 years of service in the same place of work are 5 times more likely to develop this 'worn out' syndrome than those who have worked fewer than 4 years at the same company. If you're feeling stuck in a rut maybe it's time to move on. Visit our Careers advice section for ideas on finding a new job, or approaching your boss about a promotion or change of role.

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