Office social networks may improve employee health
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 16:00Co-worker outings and team-building exercises may do more than help staff members gain friendships and have more fun in the office, the activities may also be good for their health, according to researchers at Tel Aviv University.
A team of scientist found in a 20-year, 820-person study that employees with good social support in the office were less likely to die during the trial period.
“[P]eer social support, which could represent how well a participant is socially integrated in his or her employment context, is a potent predictor of the risk of all causes of mortality,” said study authors.
The researchers defined strong peer social support as having a network of co-workers who were friendly and helped others to solve problems in the office.
Workplace stress may be a key factor in the cohesiveness of a staff. If workers are unable to deal with their feelings of tension, they may be more likely to take their frustration out on a co-worker.
As a result, employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for stress management may be helpful in promoting a friendly, happy staff. Additionally, the study results suggest that a staff that works well together may be healthier.
Displays of appreciation may prevent employee burnout
Monday, 25 July 2011 16:00It is not uncommon for a worker to take on more responsibilities than they can handle as a way to feel more appreciated around the office. However, this can potentially lead to workplace stress and burnout if that worker pushes themselves too far.
An article in Human Resources Online suggests that administrators may want to reach out to employees to help them gain a sense of belonging within an organization.
"Employers must periodically take the pulse of their own employees to identify their specific areas of concern and link employee opinion to outcomes such as productivity and retention," said Pete Foley, a Mercer researcher, quoted by the source.
Additionally, an article on the Residential Design and Build Magazine website reported on the experience of one worker who took on so much work that she eventually had to quit as a result of the stress. It wasn't until she put in her two weeks notice that the organization revealed she had been taking on the work of four employees.
Employee wellness programs may help staff members to realize that they are important parts of a team. Additionally, initiatives that provide tools and resources for stress management have been shown to reduce workplace stress as well as improve employee performance.
Marketing and advertising industry stresses UK employees
Monday, 25 July 2011 16:00A recent study by Sovereign Health Care revealed that 90 percent of British workers in the marketing and advertising business were unwell due to workplace stress, The Drum reports.
"The message from the research is clear. Organizations need to review their softer benefits and provide more health and wellbeing support," said Sovereign Health Care chief executive Russ Piper, quoted by the news source. "This will help counteract the increased pressure of the workplace and could result in more productive, higher motivated and happier employees."
The employees' largest concerns were limited personal progress and uncertainty about the future of the business. A total of 88 percent of employees surveyed across all industries thought their employers should provide more health and wellness support.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of all large companies in the United States have some kind of employee wellness program. Stress management training, employee assistance programs and similar measures may reduce sleep disturbances, anxiety and other stress symptoms.
Clearly defining a worker's role and responsibilities while ensuring that the workload matches their capabilities and resources can reduce stress. Workers who can participate in decisions that impact their jobs may find work less stressful and be more engaged, according to the CDC.
Working moms can breathe a sigh of relief
Sunday, 24 July 2011 16:00Some mothers who choose to continue their career may feel guilty, considering that some studies have suggested that this may harm the child. However, researchers who analyzed the health of children with working parents, based on the UK Millennium Cohort Study, revealed that the kids are all right.
The team of scientists found that households where both parents work are actually ideal environments for kids, and that having a working mom had no harmful long-term effect on their children.
"Mothers who work are more likely to have higher educational qualifications, live in a higher income household, and have a lower likelihood of being depressed than mothers who are not in paid work," said principal researcher Anne McMunn.
However, the findings have no implications for the stress levels of the parents. Numerous studies have revealed that working moms and dads tend to be among the most stressed-out employees.
Employee wellness programs that provide stress management tools may help these staff members to balance their work and home lives. Additionally, such interventions have been shown to improve employee performance while lowering workplace stress.
Better employee health benefits may be needed in light of aging workforce
Thursday, 21 July 2011 16:00A team of researchers at Columbia University and Miami University found that blue-collar employees are more likely than their white-collar counterparts to continue working well into their 60s, despite conditions like arthritis that can make carrying out their duties especially difficult.
However, the disparity they found appeared to be minor, suggesting that all workers may benefit from improved employee health benefits and efforts to increase employee wellness.
The researchers found that an estimated 16 percent of workers in the service or farming sector who are over the age of 65 are still working, and 47 percent of them have arthritis. Approximately 14 percent of employees in office and administration jobs continue to work past the age of 65, and 51 percent report having arthritis.
Authors of the study said their findings point to a need for enhancements in disability, health and unemployment insurance.
"As the population ages in the face of expanding budget deficits, we face politically difficult choices if the U.S. is to prevent significant declines in its standard of living," said senior author Peter Muennig, M.D.
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