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High Stress  (Source: www.mcmasters.com.au/)
Feeling overworked, micromanaged, too much stress on your job, lack of flexibility AND have no control over decision making? Well, this just might be killing you…literally! But we already knew that…didn’t we? Apparently not, because studies exploring the association between work related risk factors and death have been largely absent from the literature.

It’s no secret that a stressful job with excessive worksite demands and a boss that give you no control over work related decisions can often make you feel like saying “This job is killing me!”. Well, according to a new research study, there seems to be some (a lot) of truth to this sentiment.
 
Stressful work environments can be a matter of life or death!
 
Researchers from Indiana University, Kelly School of Business found that individuals in highly stressful jobs, with little control over their workflow, and a lack of flexibility are more likely to be less healthy and die younger than those who have more control over job related decision making and flexibility in setting their own goals.  
 


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Results of the study indicated that individuals with low-control over decision making, and high job demands had a 15.4 percent increase in the likelihood of premature death, compared to those with more control and had low job demands. However, for individuals with more control over their job, and high demands, they experienced a 34 percent decrease in likelihood of death.
 
 
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As a predictor of health, the study also found that employees who were constantly micromanaged were also more likely to be heavier than those who were in high demand and high control jobs. Perhaps stress eating was a way of coping with the negative impact of having a sense of being undervalued and overcontrolled.
 
Make sense right?
 
Primary study researcher and lead author, Eric Gonzalez-Mule concluded that “These findings suggest that stressful jobs have clear negative consequences for employee health when paired with low freedom in decision making, while stressful jobs can actually be beneficial to employee health if also paired with freedom in decision-making.”.  In other words, stress can be useful and even beneficial if employees feel their opinions are valued.
 
This reminds me of a quote I recently read "Humans don't mind hardship...what they mind is not feeling necessary." (Sebastian Junger)
 
 
So, what should employers do to help keep their employees healthy, happy and alive?
 
According to Gonzalez-Mule, “You can avoid the negative consequences if you allow them to set their own goals, set their own schedules…allow employees to have a voice in the goal setting process.”.  So, in other words… make the job more meaningful and give employees some autonomy and employees will be more productive.
 
Again…makes sense, right? I certainly thought so.
 
From an employee perspective, the findings also reveal a fundamental truth, high job demands don’t feel so demanding when employees feel like they are a part of something they enjoy and feel like a valued member of the organization. 
 
 
 




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