Massage therapy has been shown to effect relaxation and decrease anxiety and stress. New research show that more members of the public—potential clients—are experiencing stress due to added demands to work extra hours.

The research found many male employees are now pressured to work up to 40 hours of overtime—often unpaid—per week to stay competitive. Women face the same pressures, but family obligations may force them to work fewer hours on the job, putting them at risk for demotions or even firings.

The new findings, published in the journal Gender & Society, add to the growing body of evidence that heightened competition in the workplace, combined with modern business practices, are resulting in near-unprecedented levels of overtime that may not even be productive in the long run.

“This clearly does not ease the situation for women and men who want to combine career and family life,” concluded lead author Patricia van Echtelt and colleagues. “Moreover, a growing body of literature shows that working long hours does not automatically lead to greater productivity and effectiveness, and thus not necessarily contributes to employers’ needs but potentially harms the well-being of employees.”

In future, van Echtelt and her team hope that businesses will value their “employees more for their efficiency and relational skills and less for their crisis mentality and working long hours.”

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