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How social support at work pays off

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in HR Management,Human Resources

A new academic study finds that people who get along with their co-workers deal better with life’s stresses.

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, also looked at the connection between work stress and depression.

For example, the researchers found that women with more power in making decisions at work were half as likely to suffer from depression as women who had little or no decision-making powers at work.

Most striking about the study, though, was the discovery that sharing a problem with a co-worker alleviates stress. Something as simple as helping prepare a report or proofreading a document for someone makes a difference.

On the flip side, sharing a good thing spreads positive feelings and takes the focus away from what’s not going well.

One of the study’s co-authors, Emma K. Robertson-Blackmore, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, has personally felt the truth of the study’s results. “My social support comes in the shape of a wonderful co-worker, Steph, whom I chat with nearly every day,” she says. “We share, brainstorm and laugh an awful lot. She gives me perspective and honesty in five minutes flat—and I move on with a plan.”

— Adapted from “Sharing the problem,” Michael O’Brien, Human Resource Executive.

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