Working long hours has devastating effect: Prof Swann

Professor Ofa Swan. Picture: JAKE CABANIUK

WORKING long hours can have a devastating effect on a person’s wellbeing, says a University of the South Pacific psychologist.

Professor Ofa Swann said this created a lot of mental illnesses such as stress and sleep deprivation.

She urged the Government to think about the lives and wellbeing of its people and put in place laws that could help people thrive rather than just survive.

“Many of us are working zombies, like robots, and that’s tragic because that means we don’t have a good quality of life,” she said.

Prof Swann said such psychological issues were the likely causes of family disputes and relationship problems. “We Pacific Islanders don’t address such issues professionally.

One must realise that they are not the only ones going through this issue and if they sought therapy, these issues can be addressed.”

According to Prof Swann, an average person who spends more hours at work is likely to spend more time in front of the television.

“Latest studies show that people who work lesser hours, spend more time engaging with others. “It also shows that they are very productive in the workplace.

“Many reasons people work these long hours, firstly it’s the law, the policy in place itself says that one has to work this many hours to get this much money,” Prof Swann said.

“To me, if any government thinks about the lives and the wellbeing of its people, they would put in place laws that can help people thrive rather than just survive, which is very fatiguing.”