Is stress making your workers’ minds wander?

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.
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Photo: Potential Project

New York — Employees who feel stressed say their minds can wander for up to nearly 60% of the workday by the time Friday rolls around, according to the results of a recent study conducted by a global research, leadership development and consulting firm.

Researchers collaborating with the Potential Project gathered 225,000 data observations on employee focus, resilience and engagement for workers in 44 countries and 15 different industries. Overall, participants reported that their minds wander 37% of the time while on the job. The researchers also found that stress makes workers’ mind wander even more, causing two to three times more inattentiveness.

On average, the participants who were experiencing stress had minds that wandered 59% of the time on Fridays, 55% on Thursdays and 51% on Mondays. By contrast, employees who reported feeling calm at work had minds that wandered 35% of the time on Mondays, and that percentage decreased over the course of workweek to a low of 25 on Fridays.

The researchers identified three key ways workers can limit their minds from wandering:
Daily mind-training practice. Workers who train their mind can direct it to feel more grounded, resilient and present. Results show that those who practiced mindfulness had minds that wandered only 28% of the time, as opposed to 52% for workers who didn’t.
Connecting with others socially. Doing so helped workers limit their wandering minds to 30% of the time, creating more balance and focus. Among workers who chose to be alone, their minds wandered 48% of the time.
A good night’s rest. Seven or more hours of sleep a night can benefit mental and physical health. Quality sleep helped to reduce mind wandering to 35% of the workday, compared with 41% for workers who slept less than six hours.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

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First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

COVID-19 has changed the way we all work. Some of us never stopped physically going to work, while others have been working remotely since mid-March. No matter where we are, working during a pandemic has added stress to our daily lives. How you deal with this stress can positively or negatively affect your well-being.

Some of the symptoms of COVID-19-related stress, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include concern about being exposed to the disease at work, taking care of your loved ones while you’re working, managing a change in workload, and uncertainty about the future of your workplace or employment.

Manage job stress by following these tips from CDC:

  • Communicate with your co-workers about job stress while maintaining physical distancing.
  • Identify factors that cause you stress, and work together with your colleagues to develop solutions.
  • Increase your sense of control by creating a consistent daily routine when you can. If you work from home, set a regular time to stop working each day.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep a night for adults.
  • Take breaks from work to stretch, exercise or check in with your co-workers, family and friends.
  • Get active: Spend time outdoors, either exercising or relaxing.
  • Ask your supervisor or human resources department about the mental health resources your organization offers.
  • During non-work hours, spend time doing activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns, how you’re feeling or how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting you.
  • Take breaks from watching or reading news stories. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting and mentally exhausting.

For more information, go to sh-m.ag/3k6mGeR.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Study links physical stress on the job to cognitive decline, memory loss later in life

Study links physical stress on the job to cognitive decline, memory loss later in life

Photo: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStockphoto

 Physically demanding work may lead to poor memory and faster aging of the brain among older adults, results of a recent study led by researchers from Colorado State University show.

The research team studied 99 adults between the ages of 60 and 79 who were cognitively healthy – clear of psychiatric and neurologic illness, plus no history of stroke; transient ischemic attack, also known as a “mini-stroke”; or head trauma. By using brain images of the participants and an occupational survey about their most recent job, the researchers found that those who reported high levels of physical stress on the job had a smaller hippocampus – the region of the brain associated with memory – and performed worse on memory-related tasks. Examples of physically demanding work included excessive reaching or lifting of boxes onto shelves.

“We know that stress can accelerate physical aging and is the risk factor for many chronic illnesses,” lead researcher Aga Burzynska, an assistant professor in the department of human development and family studies at CSU, said in a July 16 press release. “But this is the first evidence that occupational stress can accelerate brain and cognitive aging.”

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average full-time worker spends nearly 8.6 hours a day on the job and around 40 years in the workforce. Therefore, occupational experiences are likely to play a role in cognitive health and brain aging because they occur long term, the researchers noted.

“By pure volume, occupational exposures outweigh the time we spend on leisure social, cognitive and physical activities, which protect our aging minds and brains,” Burzynska said.

The study was published online July 15 in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Mental health and your employees

mental health and your employees - McCraren Compliance, Tucson, Arizona

Employees returning to the workplace amid the COVID-19 pandemic may be experiencing mental health distress in several ways. Let the National Safety Council help you provide support. Use the Stress, Emotional and Mental Health Considerations for Return-to-Work Guidance playbook, developed as part of the SAFER initiative.

Mental health and your employees are one of the keys to business continuity and McCraren Compliance is here to support you.

Does job stress lead to early death? Study explores

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Photo: castillodominici/iStockphoto

Bloomington, IN — Little job autonomy and low cognitive ability, combined with stressors related to workload and demands, can lead to depression and early death, results of a recent study show.

Using data from 3,148 Wisconsin residents who participated in the Midlife in the United States survey, researchers from Indiana University and Northern Illinois University looked at “how job control – or the amount of autonomy employees have at work” – and cognitive ability (people’s ability to learn and solve problems) “influence how work stressors such as time pressure or workload affect mental and physical health and, ultimately, death.”

The researchers found “when job demands are greater than the control afforded by the job or an individual’s ability to deal with those demands, there is a deterioration to their mental health and, accordingly, an increased likelihood of death,” Erik Gonzalez-Mulé, assistant professor of organizational behavior and human resources at the IU Kelley School of Business, said in a May 19 press release.

Conversely, when workers had more autonomy, they experienced better physical health and a lower likelihood of death.

“We believe that this is because job control and cognitive ability act as resources that help people cope with work stressors,” Gonzalez-Mulé said. “Job control allows people to set their own schedules and prioritize work in a way that helps them achieve their work goals, while people that are smarter are better able to adapt to the demands of a stressful job and figure out ways to deal with stress.”

The study was published online April 9 in the Journal of Applied Psychology.