It’s not a category you’ll find in OSHA statistics on workplace deaths. However, a new study shows a possible link between your co-workers and mortality.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University found people who believed they had little or no emotional support in the workplace were 2.4 times as likely to die during the course of the study compared with workers who developed stronger bonds with their peers.
On the other hand, a bad relationship with a supervisor did not have an effect on mortality.
A worker’s perceived level of control at work also mattered, but the results were different for men and women. Men who reported they were allowed freedom over their work and could take more initiative had a lower risk of dying. But women who reported more control had a 70% greater risk of death.
One of the study’s authors, Sharon Toker, said women who have more control of their work usually hold higher positions. They’re expected to wear several hats, including senior worker and mom, so having more control can cause stress.
Toker said companies could foster more supportive workplaces by:
- encouraging face-to-face exchanges
- holding regular social outings for employees
- designating “coffee corners” where people can chat during breaks, and
- creating peer-assistance programs that allow workers to discuss issues or problems in confidence.
The study followed 820 adult workers over a ten-year period.
What do you think about the study? Let us know in the comments below.