Researchers from Stanford and Harvard have looked at the effect that work stress has on employees and concluded that office stress is just as unhealthy as secondhand smoke.
After examining more than 200 past studies, the researchers came to the realization that that workers who are worried about getting fired are very likely to be in poor health. Their chances of developing either a physical or mental condition increase by 50 percent (50%).
When it comes to people whose jobs are very demanding, their chances of developing either a physical or mental condition increase by 35 percent (35%), and when it comes to people who work long hours, their chances of experiencing an early death increase by 20 percent (20%).
Joel Goh, study co-author and Harvard assistant professor of business administration, stated that “When you think about how much time individuals typically spend at work, it’s not that surprising”.
An interesting fragment from the study reads as follows: “Extensive research focuses on the causes of workplace-induced stress. However, policy efforts to tackle the ever-increasing health costs and poor health outcomes in the United States have largely ignored the health effects of psychosocial workplace stressors”. Stressors can be economic insecurity, long work hours, and high job demands.
While Goh’s wish is that employers will read the study and look for a way to manage their employees without causing them stress, he also took a moment to offer some advice to stressed workers:
1) Starting a stress journal could be of great help. It’s a therapeutic way to describe what exactly happened when you felt stressed, who you were with, what you were talking about, and what tasks you were carrying out. You can also reflect on these texts later, when you have a clear head.
2) Do reality checks! What has made you think that you might get fired? Did you misplace documents or lose company money? Or do you not have an objective reason to be worried?
3) Consider looking for another job. Psychologists insist that those who love their job are actually good at dealing with work related stress.
4) So what if you do lose your job? Have you updated your CV? Do you have a friend or former colleague that might point you in the direction of a new job? Answer these questions now.
5) Negotiate with the boss. If he or she would like to have you at work 10 hours each day, help them understand why that’s not ok, but also remind them of all the work you get done in eight (8) hours.
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