Longer Working Hours Hurt Productivity: Study | Be Korea-savvy

Longer Working Hours Hurt Productivity: Study

Citizens wearing masks walk on a street in southern Seoul on Nov. 16, 2020. (Yonhap)

Citizens wearing masks walk on a street in southern Seoul on Nov. 16, 2020. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Feb. 19 (Korea Bizwire)Longer hours of work don’t necessarily increase labor productivity, research showed Thursday.

In fact, working 52 hours per week resulted in less productivity than working 40 hours.

A joint research team from the Catholic University of Korea Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital and Seoul National University’s school of medicine conducted a survey of 3,890 wage workers over 19 years of age in January and February of last year, which showed that longer weekly working hours end up resulting in a heavier loss of labor productivity, largely due to health reasons.

Many of them refer to leaves of absence, early leave, and being late for work caused by health complications.

The research team divided respondents into four groups depending on how long they worked each week: those working 40 hours or less, 40 hours, 41 to 51 hours, and 52 hours or more.

Male respondents working more than 52 hours each week were 5.1 percent more likely to suffer productivity loss than those working 40 hours. Among women, they were 6.6 percent more likely to experience productivity loss.

“Businesses are insistent on longer working hours to increase productivity, which may actually lead to a loss in productivity among workers due to exhaustion and deteriorating health,” the research team said.

“Having employees work longer hours is not an effective choice when it comes to raising productivity.”

Lina Jang (linajang@koreabizwire.com)

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