Workplace stress raises cardiovascular disease risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol
You’ve survived another stressful day at work. But that toxic environment and your equally toxic boss may be bad for your heart, a new academic study suggests.
In a highly stressful workplace where employees learn to mistrust their boss, the chances of developing cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease is high. The finding is based on research published in the International Journal of Environment Research and Public Health.
The study, which also cited data from Gallup, examined the link between workplace stress and the increased risk for cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
Researchers said the lack of trust in the workplace – defined as “understanding, fairness, and mutual respect between the supervisor and subordinate” – raised risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes in workers. They also found employees who were often under stress were also more likely to be smokers and obese.
A bad boss won’t just trigger stress and burnout. They may also increase their employees’ chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke because of the environment they create, the researchers said.
Managers thus play an important role in ensuring their workplace promotes better overall health.
Employers shouldn’t just aim for the “absence of disease and injury” in the workplace, said author and occupational therapist Angela Lockwood. They should push for a positive workplace culture and allow workers time to relax.
“Encouraging employees to switch off from work by not taking work home, leaving work at a reasonable hour or not having a work phone with them on holidays benefits the organisation in many ways,” Lockwood said.