Overwork in Asia



rent treat (2) daily grind
afford majority commute
grind routine bad/worse/worst
hassle discuss subject (3)
ideal over (2) heart attact
tunnel overtime draw the line
unique grueling take it (2)
call in up to you sick leave
region sick (2) forgive/forgave/forgiven
due common network (2)
elevate confuse supposed to
virtue organize repercussion
team obvious sit/sat/sat
risk diabetes heart disease
stiff heart (2) not to mention
joint constant carpel tunnel syndrome
release stress (2) blood pressure
sheer squeeze cholesterol
horror literally connectivity
data shift (2) find/found/found
stroke count (2) rise/rose/risen
gist shift (2) team player
bother average all that jazz
deny balance deal/dealt/dealt
flow break (3) deal a bad hand
expose on paper work-life-balance
leader regularly take a break
honest percent easier said than done
ensure condition walk around
team sound (2)






And now let’s talk about work — you know the thing you do in between living so that you can afford rent.

How is the daily grind treating you?

A majority of the world is back in office; the old routine of long hours and the added hassle of commuting has set in again. In fact it’s worse than before.

And the old question is back: can too much work kill you?

The answer is yes.

I know it’s not an ideal subject for a Friday night, but it’s a subject that must be discussed. Overwork can kill people overwork is killing people.

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This week there was news from Thailand. A 44 year-old-man had a heart attack at his desk. He had worked at the Thai News Network in Bangkok. Reports say he regularly worked overtime — often it was seven days a week.
He would regularly get home late at night.

After a grueling shift, reports say he was called in even while on sick leave. After a point, his body couldn’t take it.

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Now to many of you this may sound like a typical work week, especially if you’re in Asia. This region is known for unforgiving long hours.

Deaths due to all work are so common, Japan even has a term for it: it’s called Karoshi, death by overwork.

Yet despite all of this, overwork is seen as a virtue — often confused with hard work. You’re supposed to be a team player and work for the good of the organization.

Well you should, but what about your own good? What is overwork doing to you?

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There are the obvious health repercussions: a desk job means sitting all day, increased risk of heart diseases and diabetes . . . not to mention all your stiff joints and carpal tunnel syndromes.

Then there’s the constant stress. Stress releases chemicals in your body that lead to elevated blood pressure and cholesterol. And in this age of constant connectivity, that stress is just a call or a text away — you know that feeling of sheer horror when your boss calls that’s literally killing you.

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I have data. Findings of a study from 2021 conducted by the World Health Organization in 2016 close to 500 million people were exposed to risks of working long hours.

More than seven lakh 45 000 people 7 lakh 45 000 (745,000) people died that year from overwork. Here’s the data of the period between the year 2000 and 2016: deaths because of heart disease due to overwork rose by 42 percent.

Overwork causing strokes rose by 19 percent. People who work 55 hours or more every week face a higher stroke risk 35 percent more than for people who work between 35 to 40 hours. The risk of dying from heart disease is 17 percent higher for all workers.

If you don’t want to bother with all the numbers, here’s the gist of it: overwork kills people.

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Now you may say that this is this is how the world works, that most people don’t or may not like their jobs . . . but they must put in long hours.

Well that’s not really true because this problem seems to be unique to the East. In the U.S. less than five percent of the population is exposed to overwork, same in Brazil and Canada. Europeans have the lowest exposure to overwork health risks.

The typical work week in the U.S. is 37 hours in the UK and Israel 36 hours what about India 48 hours a week that’s the average on paper not counting what you do above and beyond this.

In China it’s 46 hours every week that’s the work week. 46 hours. There is no denying that Asia has been dealt a bad hand when it comes to work-life balance.

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So what can we in the East do? What can we do about this?

Take breaks every now and then; walk around to get your blood flowing. Don’t take work calls after your shift, as much as possible, all that jazz.

It sounds easier than done, honestly.

If you’re a team leader, you can ensure good work conditions. If you’re a team member ask for them better hours more balance.

It won’t be easy companies are always going to try and squeeze their workers.

But it’s always up to you to draw the line. Always.

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Office Clerk. Most people around the world are still under lockdown and quarantine. True or false?

Secretary. People can only pass away from accidents, chronic and acute disease and old age. Is this right or wrong? What example did the presenter give?

Administrative Assistant. Is modern, white-collar work always healthier than blue-collar work?

Boss, Supervisor. The more and harder a person works, the healthier they become. Is this correct or incorrect?

Manager. Do people work the hardest and longest in Germany and Switzerland?

Office Manager. Might attitudes toward work be cultural?

CEO, President. Is the presenter totally pessimistic about the situation? What advice does she give?
Bookkeeper, Accountant. There is a standard or average number of hours that a person works every week. Yes or no?

Financial Manager, CFO. Do people complain about working too much, too little, both or it depends?

Human Resources. Who might complain about having too little work to do? Who complains about having too much work?

Supplies. Has the situation changed over the decades? Do conditions and situations vary over time?

Shareholders. What might happen in the future?

Board of Directors. What could or should people do?

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