CBSN

Could a 4-day workweek be hazardous to health?

Companies like Amazon and Google have tested the four-day workweek, and plenty of workers like the idea of regular three-day weekends. But some researchers say the schedule may actually wreak havoc on your health.

The problem isn’t having a three-day weekend, explains Allard Dembe, a professor of public health at The Ohio State University. Rather, he says issues arise from cramming all the work you would normally do into fewer, longer days.

“The question is how do you get the work done and in what period of time do you get the work done in the time that it needs to get accomplished, especially given the fact that some people normally work 40 hours a week but other people work 45 or 50 hours a week,” Dembe told CBS News.

Compressing those hours – especially those on the higher end – can have health implications, Dembe’s research has shown.

“The research I’ve done indicates that if it gets to about 48 hours a week and you try to compress that into four days, that’s when our studies have shown that you can potentially get some health effects in the way of fatigue and possibly effects in diseases,” he said.

Such health risks may include a higher risk of heart disease, cancer, arthritis, asthma, and diabetes down the road.

People who work more than 12 hours per day are also at a higher risk of workplace injuries.

Dembe notes that while people may think having three days off will compensate for the previous four, he explains that it’s not that simple.

“It might be an issue of what you’re doing during those three days,” he said. “If you’re still trying to look at your emails every so often… or if you’re trying to fit in other demanding activities during those supposedly open days on the weekends, then maybe you’re kidding yourself and maybe it’s still pretty stressful to try to pull that off.”