Just how bad is workplace stress? It can significantly increase your risk of poor health that you can get sick and even die.
In a new study conducted by Stanford University and Harvard Business School researchers, workplace stress turns out to still be prevalent in many companies as more people put in more hours per week, handle bigger and more complex tasks, and deal with pressure from bosses.
But workplace stress can put a substantial strain on the person's health as well that can lead to poor physical and mental health outcomes.
For the study, the team uses two research methods: meta analysis and systemic review of literature. Together, they looked into scores of previous related studies and initially found more than 700. The number was later trimmed down based on their pre-determined criteria until they worked with 228 studies.
Analyzing the results of these studies, the team found out that the risk of early death goes up by around 20% if the person works long hours. Although in general employees work 40 hours a week or 8 hours a day, a 2014 Gallup poll revealed that U.S. workers extend for 7 hours more.
Meanwhile, those who are exposed to high demands at their workplace may likely become ill by 35%. Of all the possible triggers of workplace stress, the biggest is the fear of losing one's job, in which the possible poor health outcome is about 50%.
Further, the condition of the work environment such as the perceived fairness, can have a significant impact to a person's health. Those who believe there's inequality in the organization, for example, are at risk of getting sick too. Those who have to deal with conflict in both the family and the workplace may have 90% chance of reporting poor physical and mental health.
Based on these results, the researchers recommend that stress management programs should go beyond and modify existing job designs to eliminate the triggers of workplace stress.