Harvard University & Health Institutes Reveal Study Results on Work Stress


Harvard University’s graduate school, TH Chan School of Public Health, together with NPR and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, revealed that many employees (about 85%) rated their company’s efforts to reduce workplace stress as either only “fair” or “low”.

43% of the employees reported that their work is stressing them out, and that 28% of the respondents said that their job negatively affects their eating habits, while 27% said that their sleeping patterns have been affected negatively, and 22% attribute their weight problems as a negative effect of their work stress.

Robert J. Blendon, the professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, said that the biggest issue employers in the country have to focus on is reducing work-related stress.

He and his co-researchers conducted the survey through phone, among 1,601 employees. They were dismayed by the results, seeing as only half of the respondents said that their company has wellness or health-related programs.

More than 40% of the workers graded their workplace as “fair” or “poor” in terms on providing programs that promote health development, exercise, and wellness enhancement.

It’s not just the stress, though, that have these respondents giving their companies low grades.

Many outdoor or construction workers and medical personnel said that they have health problems at work, and that this issue is causing them high levels of stress.

30% of them said “chemicals and other contaminants” in the workplace are their biggest concern.

One other main cause of such negative stress is that employees are being overworked.

Studies and surveys have noted before, in the past few years, that the United States of America has more than 50% of workers who are stressed and burned out, with overwork and not many hours off the job.

Even with vacation, more than 40% of those workers (who are high-paying) said that they still work during their supposed-leisure time.

More than half have said that they work long hours because they need it for their career, which means that the emphasis is not on the productivity and efficiency itself, but on the length of time the employee allots to working.

The problem the society faces today is when companies use the work hours as a measurement of an employee’s skill, efficiency, or productivity.

The survey surprisingly reveals that those with high-paying jobs usually work more than 50 hours a week, as opposed to those with lower wages.

Unfortunately, many in the blue collar employment spectrum don’t get sick days off.

73% of the respondents who were given sick days, meanwhile, said that they didn’t use them all, opting instead to save them for worse conditions in the future.

Others expressed that not taking a leave of absence because of sickness would help them get ahead of their job.

More than half of the workers in restaurants and medical facilities (those with lower wages) admit that they still go to work even when they’re sick.

Some attribute this to the fact that they don’t get paid if they don’t work.

But the workplace is changing.

In fact, in the study, The Workplace and Health, while the results were mixed, many said that their companies are actively working on making the workplace better in terms of providing a safe and healthy environment.

Rob Clark

SchoolCampus.org admin staff managing editor

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