Specifically, women who reported significant control over their tasks and workflow were 70 percent more likely to die during the 20-year period, the study showed. Exactly what is behind this finding is not known, but the study authors suggest that women in positions of power may be overwhelmed by the need to be tough at work and still carry out stressful duties at home.
The study authors also noted that the modern workplace often lacks a supportive environment. Many people telecommute; others communicate via e-mail even if they are in the same office. Coffee corners where people can sit and talk, informal social outings for staff members and/or a virtual social network may encourage employees to feel more connected, the researchers suggested.
"Being happy at work can be a huge productivity booster, and happy people work better with others, are more creative, have more energy, get sick less often, learn faster and worry less about mistakes," said Dr. Alan Manevitz, a psychiatrist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City who was not involved in the study. "The old-fashioned coffee break, talking to people face to face or having an employee picnic on the weekend are very good morale boosters," he said.
However, the study can't answer whether the happy, healthy employee is the chicken or the egg, Manevitz said. Are these employees happy because they work in a supportive environment, he asked, or does their positive energy spill over into how they perceive their work place?
New companies like Google and Zappos are famous for their work hard, play hard credos, and this really speaks to balance, he said. "You don't want to play hard without working or work hard without playing," he said. These companies break down the traditional workplace hierarchies and create bull-pens where people can approach one another freely, but this only works in companies where people are not worried abou
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