Overtime linked with heart risk: study

After accounting for risk factors such as smoking, excessive weight and high cholesterol, doctors found that working between three and four hours of overtime each day was associated with a 60 per cent greater risk compared to those who did no overtime.

Those who worked overtime tended to be slightly younger than the non-overtime group, were more likely to be male than female, and were in a higher occupational grade.

Heart attack
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Study findings … Longer hours can raise the risk of heart problems.

People who work three hours or more of overtime per day run a 60 per cent higher risk of heart problems compared to those who work regular hours, a study published in the European Heart Journal said.

The findings came from a long-term research project into 6014 British civil servants aged 39-61, two-thirds of whom were men, and who had healthy hearts at the start of the probe in the early 1990s. Leer más “Overtime linked with heart risk: study”

Battling boredom at work

Leon Gettler is a contributor to The Age, specialising on management issues. His interests include business ethics, corporate governance and the intricacies of the US Sarbanes-Oxley ruling. He is the author of two books, including Organisations Behaving Badly: A Greek tragedy of corporate pathology, which focuses on the forces that lead smart executives to make dumb decisions.

Management Line

You know the scene: you arrive at work and you see the same people, you’ve heard the conversations so many times before. It’s like the same song playing over and over again, caught in a loop. You sit down at your desk and check your emails from the same people writing in. Same old, same old. You start working and then you have to attend a meeting which seems to go forever. And so your day drags on. How often do you get bored at work? And what are the most boring jobs?

It’s an important question for two reasons. First, because boredom might be a health hazard. According to Psychology Today, scientists reckon you can die of boredom, quite literally. The report cites a study in the 1980s when 7500 British civil servants were interviewed. During that conversation, they were asked whether they got bored at work over the past month. The researchers then tracked them down last year and found that those who reported being bored were 2.5 times more likely to have died of a heart attack. So boredom at work is a problem. How bored are you?

Mind you, one has to take these sorts of studies with a grain of salt. It might be a chicken and egg situation with those British civil servants. Bored people are probably less likely to look after themselves by exercising, eating well and staying stress free. Still if nothing else, these sorts of studies highlight how much of a problem workplace boredom might be. Leer más “Battling boredom at work”

Flexibility key to employee health

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Work stress.Stress test … workers with little control over their working conditions experience higher stress levels.

People who have some control over their working hours may be healthier in both mind and body than those in less flexible jobs, according to a US study.

Analysing 10 published studies involving about 16,600 workers, researchers found that certain work conditions that gave employees some control – such as self-scheduling shift work and gradual or partial retirement – were linked to health benefits.

Those benefits included lower blood pressure and heart rate, and better quality sleep and less fatigue during the day.

But the findings, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, do not prove that flexible work schedules lead to better health although they support the theory that “control at work is good for health,” said the researchers.

Dr. Clare Bambra of Britain’s Durham University said according to that theory, reduced stress may be what bestows the benefits although there are other possibilities as well.

A flexible work schedule might, for instance, make it easier for people to find time for exercise, Bambra told Reuters Health.

For years, studies have found links between “high job strain” and heightened rates of heart disease, depression and other ills. Researchers define high job strain as work that is demanding but allows employees little to no control over how they work.

This has sparked increasing interest in whether there are health benefits to be gained from non-traditional work conditions like self-scheduling, “flextime,” telecommuting from home, and job sharing.

For their review, Bambra and her colleagues used 10 studies that all followed workers for at least six months and had to compare employees with flexible conditions with another group.

But Bambra said a shortcoming of all the studies in the review was that none was a randomized controlled trial.

Bambra said those types of studies “are needed before we can make any real conclusions. The data we have is indicative rather than definitive.”

But she said they found no evidence that flexible work conditions stand to harm employees’ well-being so for now employers and policy makers can consider self-scheduling and gradual retirement to be “plausible means” for promoting employee health.


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