A new study conducted by Harvard and Stanford researchers has found that the stress you experience at work is just as bad for your health as secondhand smoke.
Fir their study, the research team look at a little over 200 studies and noticed that people who are worried about getting fired are 50 percent (50%) more likely to not be in good health.
What’s more, people who have highly demanding jobs are 35 percent (35%) more likely to be diagnosed with physical illness or a mental issue by medical professionals, and working long hours has been linked to a probability of 20 percent (20%) of experiencing early death.
Joel Goh, study co-author and assistant professor of business administration from the Harvard School of Business, gave a statement saying that “When you think about how much time individuals typically spend at work, it’s not that surprising”.
The authors wrote in their study that “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”. These stressors include high job demands, long work hours and economic insecurity.
Goh hopes that the new study will open the eyes of employers and make them rethink how they manage their employees. But in the meantime, he also offered some advice to stressed workers:
1) Start a work stress journal. Write down the moments when you feel stressed, described the circumstances, causes and the experience itself. Who were you talking to? What were you doing? How did it make you feel? What did it make you think? Such psychological clichés actually have value.
2) Reality checks are your friends. Don’t stress about losing your job unless something concrete has put you in danger of getting fired. Asking your work colleagues for their opinions may also bring you new perspectives that you never considered before.
3) Do you like your job or should you start looking for something else? Psychologists say that people who love the work that they do are a lot better at handling the stress that comes with them.
4) What does the worse possible scenario look like? So you lost your job. Fine. What are going to do next? Do you have some savings that you can use to support yourself for a little while? Do you know where to go look for a job? Does your CV do you justice? Do you have former colleagues that might inform you of new job opportunities? Stop living in the past and start taking steps towards your future.
5) Reach an agreement with your boss. If your boss wants you to spend 10 hours at the office, explain to them why you can’t do that, and also inform them of all of the work that you get done in a normal eight (8) hour day.
If they want you to be available all day for phone conversations and emails, ask them when exactly you are supposed to answer their after-hours messages, within the hour? Within the day? Immediately?
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