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What is the Connection Between Work Environment and Health?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 27 August 2016
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The connection between work environment and health is largely based on the type of workplace that one is in. In a negative hostile work environment, stress levels can be very high, which can have negative health impacts such as an increase in blood pressure, or an increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease, among others. In a positive work environment, however, the connection between work environment and health can go the other way; when people spend their days feeling happy and appreciated, they tend to be healthier overall.

Of course, these connections between work environment and health are not set in stone. Everyone deals with stress in different ways, and some people have more effective methods than others. It has been proven, however, that persistent stress can have extremely detrimental effects on health, even leading to higher incidences of cancer. Stress in the work environment can come in many forms; people who do not get along well with their coworkers or boss, employees who feel that they are given too much work and not enough time to do it, or people who feel that their efforts at work are never appreciated are just a few of the more common work stressors.

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Of course, physical work environment can have a negative impact on health as well, in a way that is completely unrelated to stress. An unsafe working environment where a high potential for injury exists is one example, or a job that requires frequent handling of dangerous chemicals could certainly cause a negative correlation between work environment and health. On a more basic level, some people find that the recirculated air in an office building can cause them to develop allergies or frequent nose and throat irritation.

The connection between work environment and health does not necessarily need to be a negative one. Employers can take steps to ensure that their employees are working safely and are wearing protective gear or taking measures in order to prevent injury or illness. Surveying employees regularly can be a way to gauge work satisfaction; employees are more likely to be honest in an anonymous survey. In addition, workplaces that take steps to make the work environment a positive one are often very beneficial to their employees' health; these steps can be as simple as recognizing employees for a job well done, or holding team building events like potluck lunches or celebrations for employee birthdays.

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anon334272
Post 4

I am in a hostile workplace. I am under a doctor's care and I don't want to go back to my job. I fear that I won't be able to do my job and will get a stern talking to and be threatened again by my assistant manager with a final write up and termination. I feel like I should tell them that I will quit and draw unemployment and if they contest it, then I will go another route.

anon287636
Post 3

My situation is horrid. My boss screams at me in front of the entire office, she constantly belittles me (we are both the same age and have been in the business the same about of time, 20 years). My health has nosedived and I can hardly pay the doctor bills. I have panic attacks to the point that I sleep in the bathroom so my throwing up won't wake anyone up. I am stuttering and went to a neurologist because I could not find the correct words to speak and then could not get them out of my mouth - I thought I had a mini stroke.

HR did nothing, and this is a huge corporation. It's been two years and

I have just accepted a position with another company in the same building, but took a much lower salary and was five months away from being fully vested in my 401k.

I do not know if I should hire an attorney and if so, what kind or should I just pay my doc bills and try to get myself healthy? For a while, I was thinking that I could not handle a new job because of constantly getting belittled. I have always had stellar reviews until she came two years ago. We won't even go into the raise or bonus issue. It's not about money; it's about my health. What should I do?

irontoenail
Post 2

It's really a good idea for companies to make their workers happy anyway. Most of the time it takes much more money to constantly hire new talent and train them up, than to let them have half an hour more for break, or a muffin basket.

I know those aren't the best examples, but honestly, if you know they are going to take care of you, you will work that much harder to please them.

And if your workers aren't taking off as much time as possible for sick days, because the stress is affecting their health, even better.

I know I've always worked much better with a carrot than a stick.

And experienced, well trained, happy and healthy workers are always the best kind to have, in any situation.

pastanaga
Post 1

Considering how much stress can effect the body, it's not surprising how much a stressful job can harm you.

I don't just mean one where you are working under pressure, but then you do a good job and are ready to face your next challenge.

I mean one where you are just dreading having to go in, and dreading the next time the boss spots you in the corridor and dreading that someone will spot you while you're messing around online instead of doing work.

All that dread sends adrenaline through your system, making your heart work harder and your organs shut down, because it's the same as a fight or flight reflex.

I think if you feel like that, you either need to get a new job or learn to meditate or something. You'll eventually damage your health if you don't.

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