Working late could leave you more than downhearted

Being regularly stuck at your desk long after normal working hours can be a drag, no matter how much you love your job, and certainly doesn't do much for your social or family life. But a new study shows that workers putting in too many extra hours in the office may be more likely to develop heart problems. According to the research, part-funded by the British Heart Foundation, full timers doing 3 or more hours of overtime a day were at a 60% higher risk of heart-related problems. Stress is a likely factor, but extra hours in the office also leave less time to relax, get enough sleep and enough physical exercise, all of which help protect against heart disease. Most workers probably aren't stuck in the office for as many extra hours as that, but unpaid overtime is rife in modern 'white collar' jobs. Many of us feel obliged to put in extra time to meet that deadline, or to fit in with a long-hours culture, and there's no doubt it's bad for our health and wellbeing. Long hours are bad enough when we're paid for them, but over 5 million people at work in the UK regularly do unpaid overtime, giving their employers £27.4 billion of free work every year. If you're regularly stuck in work later than you'd like, take a look at the workSMART work your proper hours pages. You can use our unpaid overtime calculator to work out just how much extra you're doing, and visit our interactive long hours clinic for tailored advice on how to improve your situation. The British Heart Foundation also has information on stress and heart disease, and advice on healthy lifestyles at work. www.bhf.org.uk/HealthAtWork