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Video conferencing could reduce bad health caused by overtime

Working three or more hours of overtime a day increases an employee’s risk of developing heart trouble by 60%, according to research by the European Heart Journal.

In an interview with The Guardian, a spokesman from the Institution of Occupational Health and Safety (IOHS) said that allowing employees to use video conferencing would reduce the negative health impacts of working overtime.

Richard Jones from the IOHS gave a list of ways organisations could improve the health of employees, saying that the work-life balance could be improved. This could be done by allowing people to work from home more often, which would reduce the time they spend commuting. Allowing employees to use facilities such as video conferencing would also reduce travel time, without preventing them from being present in meetings or liaising with colleagues.

Other suggestions included flexible working, giving employees time to rest after busy periods, improving the nutritional value of food offered in their canteen, organising at-work physical activity sessions and offering free health MOTs.

Paul Sellars, policy adviser to the TUC, told The Guardian that there is a reason why the European Working Time Directive is limited to 48 hours each week. “48 hours a week is where people’s health becomes potentially compromised,” he said. “Harmful effects of long hours start about then, though anyone working 60 or more hours a week is at an extremely acute risk of developing ill health linked to this.”

A video conference is preferred to a conference call because you can see visual prompts during the meeting, such as a person’s body language or facial expressions, which you miss over the phone.

It’s more personal than a phone call, and it means people can communicate from across the globe. It’s also a fantastic cost-cutting device as it significantly slashes the cost of travel, by allowing employees to commute outside of the rush hour or eliminating the need to travel for hours to meet clients or prospects.