Stress-free health management at work

Stress-free health management at the workplaceManaging, meeting, e-mailing – preferably all at the same time. The modern working world demands a lot from the individual employee. Stress seems pre-programmed. Companies can do something about it. A best-practice case and astonishing studies show how health can be promoted in the workplace.

There are many reasons for self-employment. One of them, who would have thought it, could be the reduced susceptibility to stress of this occupational status. According to a study by the New Quality of Work Initiative (INQA), people who are their own boss have less stress. As part of the investigation under the title What is good work, 5.000 people surveyed. For workers and employees, respectively, there are three sober findings to note afterwards:

– 57.3 percent of white-collar workers are exposed to high levels of absenteeism; only 33.2 percent of self-employed workers can say the same – 63 percent of white-collar workers complain of too few opportunities to exert influence, compared with only 29.2 percent of self-employed workers – 56.4 of white-collar workers find development opportunities too few, but only 26.9 percent of self-employed workers do

In addition, employees often have to deal with contradictory demands, suffer more frequently from insecurity and excessive or insufficient demands, and complain about excessive work intensity. An argument that the vernacular usually likes to put forward on the side of the self-employed. Beate Beermann from INQA comments on the study results:

Our study shows that, on average, self-employed workers have a higher level of self-determination while experiencing less absenteeism at work than male and female employees. According to this, their work is less hazardous to their health but more conducive to their development than the work situation of male and female employees. Those who enable their employees to have more self-determination and reduce absenteeism – promote their individual and professional development potential and thus achieve greater efficiency and performance.

Warsteiner: Exemplary health management

Based on these findings, should we all now decide to become self-employed? This can hardly be the right solution. The question is rather what the individual or what the companies can do so that this health-endangering tendency of the work of workers and employees is stopped. Because one thing should be obvious: Only those who feel good in their jobs can perform at the level expected of them. Working to rule will hardly ever happen in such a working environment.

At the beginning of the year, it became known that the Warsteiner brewery was setting an example in terms of

Workplace health promotion leiste. What's behind it? The company from North Rhine-Westphalia, together with its cooperation partner REVITALIS Lippstadt and the Research and Prevention Center Cologne (FPZ), had decided on a Two-year program to promote individual employee health decidedly. The measure is entitled "Well-being at work? – Well-being in life!" and takes into account the aspects "back, "Exercise" and "Nutrition. The first step is the prevention passport. Sensitizes Warsteiner employees to health-promoting behavior.

The brewery company has been promoting a variety of sports activities for years. With this measure, it is now further expanding its company health management and for the first time offering a sustainable and above all a holistic approach. This is the aim of the preventive program developed by the "Health Working Group" The program, which was developed by the Warsteiner Brewery, addresses the health and performance of employees on an individual basis. An initial test shows the individual employee how his or her personal training and health status is and how the current status can be improved. On the basis of the results, which are clearly presented in the prevention passport, targeted recommendations are then made for further offers from the new program "Well-being in Life"!" Possible.

Health promotion

Health promotion includes measures and activities aimed at strengthening people's health resources and potentials. By changing working, environmental and living conditions, as well as individual behavior, the aim is to create better provisions for healthy living. The concept of health promotion was originally developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1986 and laid down in the Ottawa Charter.

To ensure that the effectiveness of the Warsteiner health prevention program is precisely documented and verifiable scientifically, an employee of the Cologne Research and Prevention Center will accompany the program as part of a study. A measure that, according to Warsteiner, is unique in Germany to date.

Do new forms of employment have an impact on health?

In the course of combating unemployment, several new forms of employment have emerged in recent years. So far, studies have mainly focused on the extent to which they are actually useful as an instrument of labor policy. However, little or hardly any attention has been paid to the effects of these forms of employment on health. Example: Temporary jobs Although they initially create jobs, they also harbor a risk of unemployment due to insecurity and the constant fear of losing one's job increased risk of mental problems. What forms of new employment exist so far? Alternative forms of employment are first understood to be those employment relationships that deviate in "time and space" from the normal employment relationship. These are in particular:

– part-time work: mini-jobs, job sharing – fixed-term employment – teleworking – contingent work: "work on demand" – freelancing – temporary work

The Health Initiative& Labor has now conducted its own evaluation of the state of research on the health effects of new forms of employment. For the part-time work exist altogether new studies. A rather positive influence of this form of work on subjectively perceived health parameters such as well-being or mental condition is noticeable. A negative influence, on the other hand, can be observed in objective parameters such as mortality or suicide rate. International studies have even found that the risk here is twice as high.

Also with temporary jobs national and international studies come to different conclusions. In some cases, this type of work has no effect on health, while in the most extreme case, a Finnish study found significantly increased risks of addiction (smoking, alcohol), especially among men working on a temporary basis. Particularly interesting: this risk is reduced if the employee is taken on as a permanent employee. It is then even lower than for the previously already permanent employees.

Among the forms Telecommuting and temporary work respectively new self-employment there are currently virtually no scientifically based findings. However, the "inability to switch off" after the work phase appears to be problematic with teleworking, since private and work spheres coincide in one place. In the case of the self-employed, the results are limited to an increased rate of back pain-. muscular problems in comparison to permanently employed persons.


You can also read about the fact that healthy employees represent a significant economic factor in our background study Healthy employees: Bosses take responsibility.

Burnout Nothing works anymore

Many jobs are highly regarded in the population. Above all IT industry Due in part to the boom at the beginning of the new millennium, telecommuting is associated with adjectives such as highly paid, flexible and self-reliant. But this comes at a price, and it is usually at the expense of personal health. Over a period of 16 months, the Institute for Work and Technology Gelsenkirchen (IAT) had examined seven teams of employees in software development and consulting projects in the IT industry and found: Among the Most frequent causes of psychological stress in the IT projects studied include

– permanent time prere, – unplanned additional work, – work interruptions and – learning restrictions, which, – aggravated by restrictive time constraints and deadlines, contributed to – escalating working hours.

IT employees suffer from psychosomatic complaints such as chronic fatigue, nervousness, sleep disorders and stomach complaints up to four times more often than the average employee in Germany. Stress phases of more than eight weeks lead to an increase in chronic exhaustion – an early indicator of burnout – with around 40 percent of respondents showing clear signs of it. About 30 percent also had trouble recovering.

In addition, the study revealed that stresses in the project groups manifested themselves primarily in areas where employees had no significant options for action or negotiation to improve their working conditions. The resources available in the projects, such as free time allocation, good cooperation among colleagues or interesting tasks, were obviously not sufficient to adequately cope with the multitude of contradictory demands project employees are confronted with.

In addition, participation in decision-making in the projects is predominantly limited to a narrow circle of ies such as working time and vacation planning, selection of work equipment and methods, and induction of new colleagues. The majority of project employees remain unaffected by the design of the general conditions. Of the use of resources largely excluded.

Burnout syndrome

Burnout.Burnout is a chronic process of exhausting one's physical and emotional reserves. This process is experienced differently by those affected, but always leads to a breakdown if it is not stopped. Burnout is not considered an illness. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies burnout as "problems related to difficulties in coping with life".

So that it does not come at all to the notorious Burnout, help certain preventive measures respectively strategies.

1. Individual preventive measures:

– Time and space to relax – Compensatory opportunities such as sports or other hobbies – Alternative relaxation offers such as meditation for mental and physical relief

2. Discharge opportunities within the team:

– Realistic work plans and implementations – space for exchange, feedback and reflection (supervision)

3. Prevention by the employer:

– Occupational health and safety compliance – Ethical standards and voluntary commitments

Buildings are not a cause of illness

Finally, a noteworthy piece of news. Already years it drives researchers. Medical professionals around SBS. The abbreviation stands for the so-called Sick Building Syndrome And is associated by many office workers with headaches, itchy eyes or even fatigue. For example, they complain about outdated air conditioning systems or pollutants that would be in the office space. Wrong, says a recent British study. She sees the cause of these symptoms not in the buildings, but in stress. In the Whitehall study, British researchers from London's University College had more than 4.000 employees in office buildings surveyed. The result: stress and poor working conditions are mainly responsible for the mysterious office sickness.

Main factors for the occurring health problems were also lack of support at the workplace and a total bad psychosocial climate, the researchers explained. Your recommendation to the management of companies: Review the work environment and organization as well as the degree of self-determination of the employees!

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