Workplace environment is not the only thing that affects the workers’ health — a number of other factors could also be making your job potentially harmful to your overall wellbeing.
A recent survey by the NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, suggests that risky work conditions and physical safety do not have the biggest negative impact on health — stress and mental exhaustion affect adult Americans the most.
Among the participants of the poll, all of whom reportedly worked full or part-time for 20 to 50 hours a week, a majority (56 percent) said they work so much so because "it's important for their career to work longer hours." Half (50 percent) said they do so because they "enjoy it," while 37 percent say they "need the money."
Here are six jobs, as outlined by the researchers, where workers expressed most concerns regarding their health.
Retail outlet: 26 percent
Construction/outdoor work: 23 percent
Factory or manufacturing: 21 percent
Medical: 19 percent
Store: 16 percent
Warehouse: 15 percent
Restaurant: 13 percent
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“The takeaway here is that job No. 1 for U.S. employers is to reduce stress in the workplace,” said Robert J. Blendon, a professor at the Harvard Chan School and the director of the survey.
While the risk of working with hazardous chemicals or outdoors at a construction site has their own perils, the high levels of stress seem to affect health in the biggest way.
Mental strain, according to the study, affects working adults’ eating habits at 28 percent, sleeping habits at 27 percent and weight at 22 percent. Interestingly, millennials experience negative impact in their sleeping habit (32 percent to 24 percent) and eating habits (32 percent to 26 percent) more than their older counterparts do.
Furthermore, those in low paying jobs have very different experiences with health in the workplace compared to those in the average and high paying jobs, which has most to do with number of paid vacation days and health benefits.
“Adults in low-paying jobs have fewer workplace benefits than those in average and high-paying jobs,” reads the study. “While 80% of workers in average- and high-paying jobs say they are offered paid vacation days, only 53% of those in low-paying jobs are offered these benefits. While 72% of workers in average- and high-paying jobs say their work offers them paid sick days, only 38% of those in low-paying jobs say this.”
Schools, offices and restaurants have the least negative impact on their workers’ health.
If you want to reduce your stress level (and hopefully improve your deteriorating health), utilizing those vacation days appears to be the best course of action.