The Workplace and Health

Source: National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, July 2016

A new poll of working adults in the U.S. by National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health was conducted to examine workers’ perceptions of health problems, experiences, issues, and challenges in the workplace. This poll sought to answer seven main questions related to health in the workplace:

1. What relationship do adults see between their workplace and their health?
2. What health benefits are offered to workers to improve their personal health, do workers use these benefits, and what are the reasons why they use or do not use these benefits?
3. What are the experiences of those who are working while they are sick or are caring for sick family members?
4. How does the workplace affect the health of different types of workers, including shift workers, workers in dangerous jobs, disabled workers, and workers in low-paying jobs?
5. How do jobs impact workers’ levels of stress?
6. How do adults rate their workplace in terms of supporting their health?
7. How do paid vacation benefits in the U.S. compare to Europe?

The findings of this survey demonstrate that a significant portion of working adults say that their current job impacts their health. In particular, a considerable share of working adults believe their current job affects their overall health, family life, social life, stress level, weight, eating habits, and sleeping habits. Almost half of all working adults give their workplace only fair or poor ratings in its efforts to reduce their stress. In particular, a majority of workers in low-paying jobs, dangerous jobs, disabled workers, workers in medical and restaurant jobs, and people who work 50 or more hours per week in their main job say their job has a bad impact on their stress level.

Working adults in our sample lived up to America’s reputation for being ‘workaholics,’ as almost two-thirds of them say they often or sometimes work overtime or on the weekends, and about one in five say they work 50 or more hours per week in their main job. Despite most working adults being offered paid vacation days by their workplace, less than half of all workers who receive paid vacation days have used all or most of them in the past year. On the issue of paid vacation, the U.S. also stacks up poorly compared to Europe: while nine in ten full-time working adults in the European Union (EU) have at least four weeks’ of paid vacation, less than four in ten full-time workers in the U.S. say that they are offered this same benefit.

A majority of working adults say they still go to work when they are sick. Half of restaurant workers and more than half of workers in medical jobs say they still go to work always or most of the time when they have a cold or the flu. Many workers have also had experiences in caring for family members who were seriously ill, injured, or disabled while working at their current job.

Overall, a majority of working adults say their workplace provides a healthy work environment, most say their workplace is supportive of them taking steps to improve their personal health, and about half say their workplace offers formal wellness or health improvement programs to help keep themselves healthy.
Related:
Work Can Be A Stressful And Dangerous Place For Many
Source: Joe Neel, NPR, July 11, 2016

Employers’ efforts to reduce stress get low grades in a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

In particular, among those working adults who say they’ve experienced a great deal of stress at work in the past 12 months, the vast majority, 85 percent, rate the efforts of their workplace to reduce stress as fair or poor.

Overall, 43 percent of working adults told us their job negatively affects their stress levels. Others said their job negatively affects their eating habits (28 percent), sleeping habits (27 percent) and weight (22 percent)….

Poll: More than four in ten working adults think their work impacts their health /Most say their workplace is supportive of actions to improve their health
Source: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Press Release, July 11, 2016

A new NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health poll finds that more than four in ten working adults (44%) say their current job has an impact on their overall health, and one in four (28%) say that impact is positive.

However, in the survey of more than 1,600 workers in the U.S., one in six workers (16%) report that their current job has a negative impact on their health. Workers most likely to say their job has a negative impact on their overall health include those with disabilities (35%), those in dangerous jobs (27%), those in low-paying jobs (26%), those working 50+ hours per week (25%), and those working in the retail sector (26%).
Poll: More Than Four in Ten Working Adults Think Their Work Impacts Their Health /Most say their workplace is supportive of actions to improve their health.
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Press Release, July 11, 2016

….Key Findings:
Chemicals and contaminants top list of biggest health concerns in the workplace ….
About one in four workers rate their workplace as fair or poor in providing a healthy work environment; about half are offered wellness or health improvement programs ….
A majority of ‘workaholics’ say they work longer hours because it is important to their career; half say they enjoy working longer hours ….
A majority of working adults say they still go to work when they are sick ….
Low-wage workers often face worse conditions than high-wage workers ….

Should Working in Retail Require a Health Warning?
Source: Erin Johansson, Jobs With Justice, July 12, 2016

A recent study has proven what millions of working people have known for years: Work is stressful, and many employers only make things worse.