Working conditions are getting worse.
Stress levels reported by Americans have increased 30% over the last 30 years (Carnegie Mellon via NY Daily News, June 2012)
40% of Americans who are employed full-time, now work 50 hours or more per week. (Gallup Poll, August 2014).
1 in 4 American workers have no paid vacation time (Center for Economic Policy & Research via Forbes, August 2013) and only 25% of Americans take their full paid vacation (Forbes, April 2014).
More than half of American workers (55%) left vacation time unused in 2015. This adds up to 658 million unused vacation days. Workers cite returning to a mountain of work (37% in 2016 vs. 40% in 2014) as the greatest challenge, followed by no one else can do the job (35% vs. 30%) and cannot afford a vacation (33% vs. 30%). (Project: Time Off’s State of American Vacation 2016)
By 2020, over 40% of Americans will work in precarious jobs–those with no job security (independent contractors) or as part of the “gig” economy.* (Newsweek, August 2015)
This study also found that:
1. 79% of existing on-demand providers said their on-demand activity is part-time.
2. The on-demand labor market will grow by 18.5% a per over the next five years.
(*A gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. The trend toward a gig economy has begun.)
How is work making us sick?
As many as 10 different work stressors (including high work demands, having no power at work (low control), long work hours, shift work, job insecurity, work-family conflict, workplace injustice etc.) have been related to poor mental (depression) and physical health (heart disease) and can shorten your life by up to 3 years! (Huffington Post, August 2015)
10-20% of all cardiovascular disease is related to the way we work (Tokyo Declaration via IJOMEH 1/2015).
More than 120,000 deaths per year are associated with how U.S. companies manage workers. (Goh et al, Management Science, February 2016)
Approximately 5-8% of annual health-care costs ($160 billion) are associated with how U.S. companies manage their workers. (Goh et al, Management Science, February 2016)
Employees reporting a high sense of justice in their workplaces had a 45 percent lower risk of dying from CVD. (Elovainio et al, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 2006) Those reporting higher levels of unfairness at work were more likely to experience a heart attack. (De Vogli, Journal of Epidemiology. Community Health, 2007)
People putting in a lot of effort at work while receiving inadequate rewards, are twice as likely to suffer from CVD than other workers. (Siegrist, Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2005)
“Karoshi” is term in Japan that recognizes the problem of sudden death from long hours of over-demanding work. (Shimomitsu and Odagiri from: Schnall, Belkic, Landsbergis, et al. The Workplace and Cardiovascular Disease., 2000.)
Shift workers (night shifts, rotating shifts) have an estimated 40 percent increased CVD risk compared to day workers. (Boggild and Knutsson, Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, April 1999.)
Employees at downsizing firms have been found to get sick at a rate more than two times as high as workers who feel secure in their jobs. (Goh et al, Behavioral Science & Policy, Spring 2015.)
In 2015 Americans worked on average 1,790 hours annually (includes part-time and full-time workers); that’s almost 2 weeks longer than Japanese workers (Japan 1,719 hours) and over 8 weeks longer than German workers (Germany, 1,371 hours). (OECD Stats)
Those working 11+ hours per day were two and half times more likely to experience a major depressive episode compared to those working 7-8 hours per day. (Virtanen et al, Plos One, January 2012)
Those with high levels of work stress (job strain, effort-reward imbalance) are twice as likely to think about committing suicide than those with no or limited amounts of work stress. (Loerbroks et al, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 2016)
3–4 hours of overtime work per day is associated with 60% increased risk of incident CHD compared with employees with no overtime work. (Virtanen et al, “American Journal of Epidemiology,” May 2010)
A study from Whitehall compared those working 40 hours per week at most, with those working more than 55 hours per week found lower scores in the vocabulary test at both baseline and follow-up for those working 55 hours a week or more as well as long working hours predicted decline in performance on the reasoning test. (Virtanen et al, European Heart Journal, January 2009)
“Since 1980, American workers are putting in an average of nearly four more weeks of work each year — from 43 weeks in 1980 to 46.8 weeks in 2015. The average length of a typical workweek is also up, rising to 38.7 hours in 2015 from 38.1 hours in 1980.
That means the average worker is putting in about an extra month’s worth of work compared to 1980.
Older workers also boosted the average hours worked. Workers 65 and older boosted their time on the job from 29.3 hours a week in 1980 to 33.7 in 2015. They also raised the number of weeks worked a year from 38.3 to 44.6.” (Pew Research Center and the Markle Foundation via CNBC, October 2016)