New video lays out the ‘business case’ for healthy work

Los Angeles — A recently released video from the Healthy Work Campaign explains to business leaders how work stress harms their organization and employees – and what can be done about it.

Original article published by Safety+Health
healthy work

Photo: Healthy Work Campaign

The Business Case for Healthy Work focuses on issues such as chronic stress caused by greater work demands, time pressures, unreasonable workloads and low job control. That stress can lead to higher blood pressure and greater risk of cardiovascular disease.

The campaign is a public health project sponsored by the Center for Social Epidemiology, a nonprofit foundation.

“Overwork, especially working more than 55 hours per week, is also associated with burnout and depression,” Peter Schnall, CSE director and a professor emeritus of medicine at the University of California, Irvine, says in the video.

The video notes that businesses can lose billions of dollars because of problems such as employee disengagement and burnout, sickness and lost productivity, and increased health care costs. CSE provides three overarching actions employers can take to help mitigate these issues:

  • Ramp up employee participation in decision-making and problem-solving
  • Increase support and feedback from management
  • Improve communication throughout the organization

“Everyone should know that work conditions can lead to ill health,” Schnall says. “Improving working conditions and creating healthier work conditions can lead to improved mental function and increased satisfaction among workers, and it will contribute to workers who are more productive.”

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Which worker types are most at risk of burnout? Survey explores

BurnoutBoston — People who are “strivers” at work but struggle with job-related anxiety may face a heightened risk of burnout, a recent analysis shows.

Researchers from online stress management platform provider meQuilibrium surveyed 2,000 adult full-time workers, classifying them into one of six segments based on burnout risk: soulful sufferers, checked out, status quos, strivers, stretched superstars and change masters.

Findings show that strivers have the highest risk of burnout because of their combination of high agility and low resilience – despite exhibiting “a growth mindset” that results in them “brimming with untapped potential,” according to an Aug. 22 press release. Workers in this segment were linked to greater risks of anxiety (54%) and depression (27%), while 66% reported experiencing more negative emotions than positive ones.

The researchers also found that 44% of “soulful sufferers” – identified as “caring people who are struggling to be adaptive, and worrying about relationships and work” – are at high risk of burnout. This group’s low resilience and low agility contribute to its average use of 13 sick days a year. Seventy percent of soulful sufferers reported feeling accelerated pressure on the job, while group members faced a 49% greater risk of depression and anxiety.

“We can’t totally eliminate stress, which is one of the root causes of burnout, from business – but we can support employees by training them to manage stress better, and address the consequences before they impact business metrics such as revenue and profit,” Lucy English, vice president of research at meQuilibrium, said in the release.

In a June revision of its International Classification of Diseases, the World Health Organization calls burnout an “occupational phenomenon” and outlines three dimensions:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativity or cynicism related to the work
  • Reduced effectiveness on the job