Job dissatisfaction is a renowned concept and a widely accepted reality. We all know there is a significant amount of people who are not happy with their job and workplace. That said, for many people, work is more than just an unpleasant experience, it is actually killing them.
The constant pit in your gut, the morning exhaustion, restless nights and anxiety dreams. Sounds familiar? Seems like your job is slowly killing you!
Stanford business professor Jeffrey Pfeffer has been emphasising about how unhealthy certain workplaces are. His research indicates that workplace environments in the United States may be leading to over 120,000 deaths a year. This brings with it numerous health-related expenses.
The research does not revolve around dangerous workplaces with chemicals, pollution and heavy machinery, although this presents its challenges as well. The stresses are related to anxieties caused by firings or the fear of layoffs, extended hours, busy schedules, disastrous work-life balance, low pay and most of all lack of appreciation. The problem with this is that many people shrug this off in the belief that this is part of life’s struggles. This may lead to several chronic health issues like cardiovascular disease and diabetes which can be spurred by unhealthy habits such as excessive eating, lack of physical exercise and too much alcohol.
Living on a daily basis with anxiety leaves a lasting impact on our psychological state. One of the major issues is employment terminations. Losing your job can double the risk of depression and the chance of death by alcohol and suicide. A surprising statistic is the fact that your chances of dying in the first four years after being fired go up to 44 percent. If you find a new job after being laid off, you are in more risk to develop health-related problems when compared to people who were not. The negative impacts of job terminations do not just affect the ones afflicted, but also those employees who were not laid off, since seeing colleagues lose their jobs correlates with health problems.
Excessive hours and jam-packed schedules are correlated with increased risks of hypertension and on the job mistakes. By the same token, a poor work-life balance where contact with family is minimal is correlated with mental health issues.
Pfeffer’s study states that the European situation is more employee friendly when compared to the United States. The study indicates that if the American workplace was brought up to the same standard of Europe, around 60,000 deaths per year could be prevented.
Organisational leaders must address work stress in a proper manner. A lot is being done already to entice employees to lead healthier lives such as flexible hours, gym allowances and healthy eating options in the workplace.
What else should be done? How can we improve the workplace to make it more conducive to employee health?