Stress on the Job means more Doctor Visits
Recent research indicates that those who work in stressful jobs or who work in stressful workplaces visit the doctor for illnesses more often than those in the least stressful jobs. They see general or family practitioners 26 percent more often and see specialists 27 percent more often than those who are not under stress.
Certain jobs are inherently more stressful. These include the following seven job categories: trade professionals, executives, mechanical professionals, health professionals, service industry professionals, managerial staff and farm workers. Many of the more stressful jobs are those that work with people. There can be inherent friction when working with others and this adds to the stress on the job.
Those who work long hours have increased stress. Working 60 or more hours a week means you have little time for yourself and your family. You have little time for hobbies and most of your life is spent in work endeavors. It can cause sleep deprivation and increased alcohol or drug use.
Those who have little control over their environment have increased stress on the job. This means that middle management, who are under the auspices of upper management, have more stress than their higher level executive coworkers. There is an increase in headaches, substance abuse, gastric ulcers and mental health issues that can mean visits to the doctor for treatment. This decreases productivity and increases absenteeism, either by having doctors’ visits during work hours or from directly being sick.
Workplace wellness programs are attempting to address these issues and to make stress an important thing to overcome on the job. Employees themselves are perhaps better able to define what is stressful on the job and what is not stressful. They can be valuable additions to a team of workers who attempt to define the stressors and work on stress reduction measures in the workplace.
Stress can directly affect the immune system and can put an employee at risk for a myriad of diseases from colds, to the flu, to serious infectious diseases that can take an employee out of the workplace picture for days to weeks. Employees that are always catching the latest cold or flu may have stress to blame for their propensity to get sick.
Stress reduction in the workplace can come in many forms. It can come in the form of restructuring jobs to be less stressful, exercise in the workplace, stress reduction exercises and increased workplace camaraderie that can help people get their work done without stress and with increased confidence in their abilities.
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