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October 1, 2023

Long Hours Are the Root of All Your Busy Season Problems

Perhaps you gleaned this from the exhaustive tournament we hosted recently, but we'll bring it up again: working a lot of hours causes a lot of problems.

Among these problems: drinking. Harvard Business Review has the latest scientific research:

Marianna Virtanen of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and colleagues found that people who log long hours are about 12% more likely to become heavy drinkers.


In the study on excessive drinking, she and her colleagues took data from 61 different studies to create a dataset of over 330,000 workers across 14 countries. “We found that working more than 48 hours a week was associated with increased risky alcohol use,” explains Virtanen. “We defined risky alcohol use as more than 14 drinks per week for women and more than 21 drinks per week for men.”

It gets worse — Virtanen has done several studies on the perils of working too much, finding correlations between overworking and impaired sleep, depression, and heart disease. 

Obviously the problem for accountants is that busy season requires long hours driven by deadlines and client demand so how do you reconcile your health concerns with an occupational hazard?

No, not with treadmill workstations. The answer is: you won't. The majority of accounting firms chalk long hours up to the cost of doing business and everyone has to counter all the sitting by squeezing in exercise, therapist appointments and shut-eye on their own time. 

Now let's all go to happy hour and toast to our health!

Working Long Hours Makes Us Drink More [HBR]

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