Yes, Work is Making You Sick


A recent study shows that the pressures of the workplace are increasing the health risks put upon employees. This comes, primarily, from the fact that a higher workload and unrealistic expectations are increasing stress. The stress is so severe that it is causing serious health issues. About 33 percent of those surveyed in the report said they had no clue how they would meet the demands made of them in the workplace. 51 percent said that they had no influence over the total workload they were expected to complete. 40 percent felt they had no real influence or input towards their professional goals.

So, what does this mean, as an energetic worker bee ready to get out there and change the world? It means, in a way, that the world has to change first.

“Management can significantly influence this performance culture and create a healthy work environment using realistic goals,” Bertelsmann Foundation board member Brigitte Mohn stated.

So, How Do You Help Make Change?

The best advice from the study authors had to do with how employees interact with their bosses about their goals. Real conversations need to happen. These discussions need to be frank and on a human level. You should initiate a conversation with your boss about the likelihood of having this type of conversation without it impacting your current career.

You will also need to develop a sense of your own limitations to really make the most of your career. It is essentially the idea of a house of cards. You are loading on more and more work, trying to meet expectations, and you are building this house out of cards. So, when that one big rock tumbles across the table – the straw that breaks the camel’s back, as it were – the entire thing comes tumbling down. You need to understand that there is no better way for you to make the most out of your future than to be direct about what you need and what is truly causing you issues.

Dangerous Acceleration

If you think things will just get better, without the intervention of studies, employees and real activists for change, you may find yourself sorely mistaken. Annelie Buntenbach of the German Trade Union Federation had this to say: “The study shows a dangerous trend that’s being accelerated by the digitisation of the working world.”

While we thought technology was going to be what made our lives easier, it turns out that it is actually adding such a significant amount of stress to our lives that we are experiencing significant health detriments. Companies have learned that access to faster technology allows them to employ a less headcount and load more work onto those they keep.

Think of your last visit to the market. An entire basket full of goods was scanned and charged in the matter of minutes. Now think of how your parents or grandparents shopped. There was a time that everything had to be figured out by hand. Long lines would be the end of a market, so the employer needed to employ more people. That is where we are today. Single market checkers able to do the job of four people by ourselves. But until we start having the real conversations about what we need and show the courage to take our lives into our own hands, nothing is going to change.

Bertelsmann Stiftung