Category: fairness

Be Fair

Workplace Health, Injustice, and Your Mother

Your mother always told you life wasn’t fair. In few places did her words ring truer than workplaces where favoritism, bullying, discrimination, or broken promises rule the day. But if life’s not fair, it may be no small consolation that, when facing an unjust and uncivil work environment day in and day out, life may not be very long either. One study has shown that workers who felt they were treated unfairly at work — compared to well-treated workers — had a 55% greater risk of heart disease, even after controlling for other risk factors. Organizational Injustice Organizational unfairness, or injustice, refers to a pattern of exposure to...

Good Work image

NICE! Good Work Is the Key to Good Employee Health

On June 19, 2015, while the U.S. federal government was determining how much employers should be allowed to fine workers for high blood pressure and cholesterol, the United Kingdom’s quasi-governmental National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) was doing something beneficial for employee wellness. NICE issued evidence-based guidelines for management practices and policies that support employee health. In the U.S., where we lean on behavioral programs and medicalized approaches to try to manipulate worker health, NICE’s focus on workforce management and policy may seem…um…foreign. But as often mentioned in this blog, much of the rest of the economically advanced world long ago realized that management...

Balance Scale

At Work, But Out of Whack

Effort-Reward Imbalance Underpins Worker Stress It may be hard to get your brain around abstract models of stress, especially when they don’t line up with the usual fright-or-flight illustrations or seem remediable by the relaxation tips commonly sold as solutions. But if we care about workers, and how employers may be able to help them, we can’t ignore the harmful effects of effort-reward imbalance. Think back to Psych 101 and you’ll remember that most human transactions are based on our expectation of an even exchange, or social reciprocity. It’s like an unwritten contract. We’re hard-wired for evenhandedness, and when we get — or believe we’ve...

Napo spotlights the causes of stress at work

Napo Lovably Spotlights the Causes of Worker Stress

The psychosocial and environmental interplay of stress at work are foregone conclusions among regulators, thought leaders, and many employers across the globe, especially in Europe. In the United States, with the exception of NIOSH’s Total Worker Health strategies, the drivers of stress at work remain largely ignored. In the US, we take the reactive viewpoint that an individual’s response to stress is more important than the causes of stress. In doing so, employers grant themselves license to put the onus for solutions on employees, too. Whereas the rest of the industrialized world endeavors to address stress by balancing employees’ job control and demands, offering scheduling flexibility, limiting overtime,...

Blind Spot

Hostile Workplaces and Overtime Linked to Obesity

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on employers’ increasingly aggressive efforts to get workers to lose weight, igniting the inevitable social media hullabaloo from pro- and anti-wellness pundits. The article featured a table, Obesity by Occupation, which reported the prevalence of obesity in 10 categories of occupations (ranging from 40.7% for police, firefighters, and security guards, to 14.2% for  economists, scientists, and psychologists). But the newspaper and the pundits missed the scoop. When the reporters discovered the obesity-per-occupation stats in a study published earlier in the year, they glossed over the most important findings. The study, Prevalence of Obesity Among U.S. Workers and Associations with Occupational Factors — published in the...