Overwork threatens health of office workers

SHANGHAI – More than 70 percent of Chinese white-collar workers suffer from overwork and are at a greater risk of having health troubles as a result, according to a recent survey.

 The survey, which was conducted by the job-search website zhaopin.com, polled 5,000 white-collar workers and concluded that the majority of young people in China work under a load of stress they find difficult to cope with.

 “I have to work at least 12 hours every day if I have a film or advertisement to shoot, and then I stay awake until 3 am if the website needs me to upload footages,” Wang Hukun, a 26-year-old producer from a Shanghai communication company, told China Daily. He also moonlights as a part-time editor for a website.

 According to the results, 44.8 percent of the survey respondents said they are often physically uncomfortable at their jobs, 40 percent said they easily lose their tempers at the office and 36.5 percent said their work leaves them feeling depressed.

“Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night without any reason and feel sick, especially if I haven’t eaten in a long time,” said Wang, adding that he rarely goes to a hospital. “I normally deal with it by taking a few days off and getting some rest.”

The survey found that neck and lower-back pain, neurasthenia, insomnia and depression are common among overstressed white-collar workers.

“Those problems are mainly caused by a combination of long work hours, a lack of exercise and irregular eating habits,” said a doctor who would only provide her surname, Xu.

“The pain in my back and neck is quite normal for me now,” said Xiao Mi, a 26-year-old woman who works as a coordinator at an international public relations company in Shanghai.

 “I also have severe insomnia, which is especially bad because I have been working too much.”

Of the respondents, 35.8 percent said they spent between 500 yuan ($77) to 1,000 yuan in 2010 on health examinations, medicine and health products, a number that rose by 14.2 percent above where it had been two years ago.

“I used to think that I was young and strong until I found out that my heartbeat would become irregular if I was overworked for more than three days,” said Wang.

Doctor Xu advised white-collar workers who feel unwell, especially those who work more than 10 hours a day, to pay more attention to their diets and mental health and to undergo regular examinations.

By Yu Yan of China Daily

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