Worrying about work at home or bringing the office home with you can be linked to heart disease, a study has claimed.

A study published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience journal used wrist monitors to measure heart rates in workers – primarily in the financial services industry in the City of London.

Researchers found ‘spikes’ in stress when people interrupt their time at home with work. Heart-rate variability was sampled between 8pm and 10pm over three workday evenings (Monday to Wednesday) while individuals carried out their normal evening routines.

In one part of the study, staff from BNP Paribas were found to have high stress levels until 8.30pm when children went to bed. Some stress levels remained high until 1am.

The study claims to be the first to pair wearable sensors with smartphones with examining the association between ‘work-related rumination’ and heart-rate variability. 

According to the study’s authors, the culture of ‘always-on’ working is literally killing people.

David Plans, chief executive of digital health business BioBeats, which helped co-author the study, said: ‘Everybody knew that always working was bad, but now we can measure when it is happening and exactly what damage it is doing. It is much worse than we thought. It is killing people.

‘Dealing with work while at home is pernicious to health and is directly linkable to cardiovascular disease. That is now measurable and before it was not,’ he added.

Earlier this month, the Gazette attended a wellbeing at work event hosted by a legal recruitment company.

During the event, Matthew Mitten of employee benefits adviser Secondsight cited research claiming that 70% of workers had been affected by financial worries in the past year.

Employers, Mitten said, should focus on four core elements – financial, social, physical and mental wellbeing.