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Horrible Bosses

Friday, March 04, 2016

Know More How Your Boss May Be Affecting Your Health

If it isn’t your workplace or workload that’s causing all your stress, could it be your boss? Khevna Pandit takes you through a recent study that makes this an interesting option to consider

A healthy, sustainable environment is vital to a workplace that functions well. And, most of the time, knowingly or unknowingly, it’s not the excessive workload that causes stress (because remember, your resume said that you were good with deadlines and at multi-tasking!), so what’s making you feel like you would rather do anything but go to work every morning, and why do you always feel tired, weak and de-motivated? Well, it could be a negative boss that’s causing all your issues!

How your boss could be affecting your health
Depression is often highly associated with stress or pressure, so being treated unfairly by management could the reason for your workplace depression. A Danish survey that was conducted on 4,500 public employees at Danish schools, hospitals, nurseries and offices sheds some light on this. The survey included personal interviews to determine whether participants suffered from clinical depression and examined cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the participants’ saliva. From the questionnaires, the researchers could determine the sense of justice that employees felt in the workplace. They found that a feeling of justice included being heard by one’s manager and whether the participants felt that everyone was treated equally. There is a natural tendency for people in an authoritative position to look down on employees — dismissive behaviour, passive aggressive emails or even privileging another worker’s accomplishments over your own — and there are several ways that your boss could be brining you down.

What this could do to you
Apart from feeling disheartened and demotivated, this could also lead to poor performance at work, loss of productivity and feeling less committed to the company. And, to top it all off, high stress levels could lead to illnesses, which prevent people from working effectively.

Christine Porath, an associate professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, recently argued in an op-ed for the New York Times that experiencing rudeness at work, and even replaying the event in your head later, elevates levels of hormones called glucocorticoids. This can lead to disparate health issues, including an increased appetite and obesity — yes, your boss could be making you fat too!

How to get around it
Unfortunately, you can’t really choose who your boss is, and quitting your job isn’t always the answer. While you should take some time to figure out how to deal with this as an employee, as a boss, you should be focusing on helping your employees out. A transparent organisational structure (or at the very least, suggesting that one exists) could be a way to avoid unnecessary workplace stress. Also, the little things like installing a water cooler, providing healthy snacks during meetings, giving timely raises along with creating a balance between work and personal lives, could result in a healthier work environment.

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