Stress at work could impact employees health just as secondhand smoking does, a new study suggests.
A joint research involving scientists from Stanford University and the Harvard Business School reviewed a large body of scientific literature on the matter, as well as previous studies and concluded that stress at work is as dangerous to our health as secondhand smoking.
While an increasing number of employers are keeping up with the latest trends in healthy lifestyle choices and involving their employees in programs designed specifically to address these issues, stress stemming both from the employees’ personal and professional lives is often overlooked. This may result in an overturn of any beneficial effects the aforementioned programs could have on the health of people who are employed.
The research is meant to draw attention on managerial practices and their effect on the health of employees, while shifting attention from employee behavior. A total of 228 previous studies were included in the meta-analysis conducted by the joint research team.
Overall, 10 stressors present in the workplace were emphasized, as well as their effect on morbidity, mortality, mental health and physical health. All of the studies had included over 1,000 participants and over half had followed the participants for a prolonged period of time.
The list of stressors present in the workplace included low organizational control, a prolonged working schedule, the lack of health insurance, job demands that are too high, job insecurity, as well as the conflict between family life and work.
The researchers concluded that one of the highest ranking stress factors related to the workplace is job insecurity. When employees had this at the back of their minds, the chances that they would soon report poor health conditions spiked by approximately 50 percent.
Too much time spend at work or long working hours and overtime were found to increase mortality by 20 percent. High job demands had an effect on morbidity, with a calculated increase of 35 percent more chances to be diagnosed with a severe illness.
As for secondhand smoking, the research team equated the effects it may have on health with those on mental health as well. Statistically, the effects on overall health are very similar. At the same time, second hand smoking proved as detrimental to the health of employees as stress present in the workplace.
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