When choosing a career or the place to work, most people pay attention to financial conditions, commuting time, chances of promotion etc. Rarely do we think of the kind of people we would get as our bosses and co-workers and general Working Conditions. However, that aspect might be the most important one when it comes to our health.

Stress markers high, study shows

A recent study by RAND reveals that for almost two-thirds of US workers actual working conditions are a lot different from those desired. Similarly, a UK study showed a higher presence of stress markers in people who went from having no job to having a Bad one, compared to the people who stayed unemployed.

Nicole Maestas, the co-author of the study and associate professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, said the number of people who experienced some kind of hostile environment at work surprised him. The RAND report is based on the responses of about 3,000 Americans ages 25 to 71. According to the report, one in five US workers experienced some kind of verbal abuse and sexual harassment.

The top sets the tone

According to Maestas, the boss plays a significant role in combating hostility in the workplace. A respectful boss who intervenes when someone is being treated disrespectfully is the key to fair behavior. The study also found that many Americans are exposed to different types of danger while at work on an everyday basis because of harsh physical conditions.

US workers also complained of not having enough time for their personal matters because of the work deadlines they have to meet. They claim they often don’t get enough time to have something done at work so it’s not a rare case that they take their work home and spend their time off to actually finish their tasks. The study also finds gender inequality prevails in many aspects of professional life.

Any job better than no job?

When complaining to the people around us about our job and bad working conditions, we might hear that we’re lucky to even have a job nowadays and that unemployment is the worst thing possible for our health. But is it really so? A study in the UK took a look at 1,116 people aged 35 to 75 years who went from being unemployed to being employed.

Those who got a good job showed low stress levels while people who got poor-quality jobs had high biological indicators of stress and are therefore prone to some metabolic or cardiovascular issues, the study suggests. However, some argue that those biological markers are not necessarily connected to work but are just a sign of a possible illness.

Flexibility very important

Tarani Chandola, the lead author of the International Journal of Epidemiology study and professor of medical sociology at the University of Manchester, claims that workers with no flexibility in their schedules are more likely to have more biological stress indicators. A happy worker is a good worker and good working conditions can motivate workers and boost their productivity.