Written by Kara Morris
Friday, Oct. 21, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Anyone who has dealt with a toxic work environment can tell you about the toll it takes to your physical and mental health.
Now, the US government supports this perception with some evidence.
US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy released a report Thursday that links low wages, discrimination, harassment, burnout and long commutes with physical health conditions, including cancer and heart disease. Depression and anxiety can also result from these toxic workplaces.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the nature of work, and the relationship many workers have with their jobs. The link between our work and our health is becoming clearer,” Murthy said in the report.
He cited five components of a healthy workplace, namely protection from harm, communication and community, work-life harmony, mission at work and opportunity for growth.
The Surgeon General’s office said developing a work culture to emphasize these principles can help promote inclusion, fair wages, and employee opportunities for advancement.
Instilling these values, Murthy said, “will require organizations to rethink how they protect workers from harm, foster a sense of connection among workers, demonstrate their importance, make room for their lives outside of work, and support their long-term professional growth.” . “This may not be easy. But it is worth it, because the benefits will accrue to both workers and organizations. A healthy workforce is the foundation for thriving organizations and a healthy society.”
The report comes at a time when the pandemic and the shift to working from home have helped workers find a work-life balance.
“these [work and home] Role conflict can amplify psychological stress, increase the risk of health behaviors such as smoking, unhealthy eating habits, alcohol and drug abuse, and overuse of medications, and cause disruptions in relationships both at work and at home.”
“When people feel anxious or depressed, the quality, pace, and performance of their work tend to deteriorate,” the report said.
CBS News reports that Gabriella Kellerman, chief product officer at corporate training platform BetterUp, agreed with the theory that employee well-being means good work.
“In this day and age, due to the nature of work, there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty from companies and the external environment that is inherently challenging to our mental well-being and our role, and companies have a role to play in supporting their employees for ethical reasons, but also because it is beneficial to the bottom line of their business,” Kellerman said. .
“The fact that the surgeon general recommended this is extremely important as a statement,” she added. “They give employers specific recommendations about what is most important to support employee well-being. Getting these granules and instructions is a new level of engagement, and direction, and that’s a new thing.”