Business Standard

How your work conditions affect your well being


Work, work, work is today's mantra for success and thanks to that, working hours of employees have increased, ultimately affecting their lifestyle and overall health.
It has been found that the terms and conditions of employment -- including salary, work hours, schedule flexibility and job security -- influence overall health as well as your risk of being injured on the job.
These findings have been published in the Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences.
"This research is part of a growing body of evidence that the work people do -- and the way it is organized and paid for -- is fundamental to producing not only wealth but health," said senior author Noah Seixas, a University of Washington, professor of environmental and occupational health.
The traditional model of ongoing, full-time employment with regular hours and job security is rapidly giving way to gig-economy jobs, short-term contracts, nonstandard work hours and flexible employer-worker relationships.
"Employment relationships are complex. They determine everything from how much you get paid, how much control you have over your work schedule, your opportunities for advancement and how much protection you have against adverse working conditions, like harassment," said Trevor Peckham, also a clinical instructor in UW Health Services.
Researchers used data from General Social Survey collected between 2002 to 2014 to construct a multidimensional measure of how self-reported health, mental health, and occupational injury were associated with employment quality among approximately 6,000 US adults.
Among their findings, researchers discovered that people employed in "dead-end" jobs (for example, manufacturing assembly line workers who are often well-paid and unionized but with little empowerment or opportunity) and "precarious" job holders (for example, janitors or retail workers who work on short-term contracts and struggle to get full-time hours) were more likely to report poor general and mental health as well as occupational injury compared to people with more traditional forms of employment.
On the other hand, "Inflexible skilled" workers (such as physicians and military personnel, who have generally high-quality jobs but with long, inflexible hours) and "job-to-job" workers (such as Uber drivers, gig workers or the self-employed doing odd jobs) had worse mental health and increased injury experience compared to those with standard employment.
One of the most surprising findings was that "Optimistic precarious" job holders (including service-sector workers with high empowerment, such as florists) had similar health to those in standard employment, despite having jobs characterized by insecurity, low pay and irregular hours.
They report high control over their schedules, opportunities to develop and involvement in decision-making and may be opting into these types of jobs.
Researchers and policymakers must continue the dialog with employers "to demonstrate the benefits of increased worker security and stability on employee turnover, productivity and, ultimately, their bottom line," said co-author Anjum Hajat.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

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First Published: Sep 29 2019 | 3:24 PM IST

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