Ways moonlighting can affect mental health; experts offer insights

Published on Oct 02, 2022 09:15 AM IST

People who work for 11 hours or more are 2.5 times more likely to develop depression than those who work normal hours. Experts on how moonlighting can play havoc with your mental health.

According to research published in National Library of Medicine, long work hours contribute to psychological stress and work stress(Pixabay)
According to research published in National Library of Medicine, long work hours contribute to psychological stress and work stress(Pixabay)
By, Delhi

The term moonlighting has come under spotlight after Wipro sacked its 300 employees for taking up side jobs. Ever since the world is busy debating whether this practice of earning extra money after work hours is right or not. While this discussion will continue for longer, health experts say working for 11-12 hours can be detrimental to your physical as well as mental health. People who work for 11 hours or more are 2.5 times more likely to develop depression than those who work normal hours. (Also read: What is ‘moonlighting’, the practice Infosys warned its employees against)

According to research published in National Library of Medicine, long work hours contribute to psychological stress and work stress and working for 10 or more hours per day, 40 or more overtime hours per month and 60 or more hours per week tended to create stressful feelings. The study also found an association between long hours and depression and said female workers have a higher risk of experiencing depression and anxiety than male workers when working the same number of hours.

“Moonlighting has become quite a common phenomenon in employees post-Covid. There is a sudden rise in this trend of having a second job because the pandemic led to slashed salaries, and loss of employment and income. To earn extra, employees opt for two jobs," says Dr. Jyoti Kapoor, Founder, and Senior Psychiatric, Manasthali explaining what moonlighting is.

However, having a dual job has some real, negative consequences on our mental health. A study on long work hours has found that those who work more than 11 hours a day are 2.5 times more likely to develop depression than those who work regular hours. They also undergo sleeping issues.

"Lack of sleep can negatively affect our mood, impair our judgement and weaken our defences against disease. Since such people fail to strike a work-life balance, they are more likely to suffer from adverse health problems, including neck, back, or chest pain, stroke, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and anxiety,” says Dr Kapoor elaborating on the negative impact on moonlighting on our overall health.

"It is said that excess of anything is not good and may prove to be detrimental. Maintaining work-life balance is itself a huge issue that people are still trying to grapple with and without harming their physical and mental health. However, despite that people go for moonlighting. Moonlighting implies taking up a second job or multiple other work assignments apart from one’s full-time job. Companies have opposed the practice vehemently claiming that employees engaged in several jobs can impact their productivity," says Dr. R. C. Jiloha, Sr. Consultant Psychiatrist, Paras Hospitals Gurugram.

Dr Jiloha says moonlighting may have adverse effects on physical and mental health of the individual.

"Moonlighting can invariably impinge upon a person’s mental health and thus affect his/her productivity. While there is no specific data of such kind, treating the employees right with proper kind of remuneration and job satisfaction will reduce the rate of moonlighting significantly and he/she will remain loyal to the company as well as their own wellbeing," says the psychiatrist.

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