As we’ve pointed out before, workplace stress could literally be killing you.
And now, researchers at Harvard Business School and Stanford University have found a new, wonderful analogy for just how much it can be doing so: secondhand smoke.
That’s right, you might as well be inhaling some nearby Marlboros as sitting in a stressful environment all day.
For many young professionals, however, this comes as no surprise. The grind can get to you after awhile.
In a new report, researchers compiled evidence from 228 pre-existing studies and found that high job demands increased the odds of having a doctor-diagnosed illness by 35 per cent. Furthermore, long work hours increased the chance of early death by almost 20 per cent.
“When you think about how much time individuals typically spend at work, it’s not that surprising,” says study co-author Joel Goh, an assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.
At a time where any sense of job security is a lot lower than it was for most of our parents, the biggest stressor was the worry that you could soon lose your job. That anxiety that increased the odds of having poor health by about 50 per cent.
Goh said he hopes the research will help companies think about the way they manage their employees. He said it might seem like demanding faster work or longer hours would increase productivity, but that might not be the case, according to CNN.
The researchers say that mental health is not always considered by workplace wellness programs but should be. They noted that employers have created programs in recent years to highlight the health, lifestyle choices, and quality of life for their employees.
And this needs to continue.
If it doesn’t, neglecting stress levels of employees can have just as poor an affect on health as secondhand smoke, not exercising, or eating poorly, according to the study.
At the end of the day, making and saving all those dollars isn’t going to do you any good if you’re not alive to spend them in retirement. So, in the meantime, enjoy your afternoon coffee, take a few deep breaths, and take the long weekend to relax – the Tuesday after Labour Day hits like a slap in the face.