Live Longer By Being Nice To Co-Workers

live longer being nice to co-workersWork can be more challenging for employees than it was just a few years ago. The mass layoffs of the recent recession have resulted in fewer people doing the same amount of work.

That can result in some pretty tense workplaces, but a new study suggests that if employees stand together and support each other, the effort can pay off in an unexpected way -- longer lives.

Citing a new study, PsychCentral states that workers who believe that they have the personal support of their peers can have positive influence on long-term health.

"We spend most of our waking hours at work, and we don't have much time to meet our friends during the weekdays," says researcher Sharon Toker of Tel Aviv University in Israel. "Work should be a place where people can get necessary emotional support."

The study involved 820 adults who worked nearly 9 hours a day over 20 years. Those who report having low social support at work were 2.4 times more likely to die sometime within those 20 years, Toker says.

The study is published in the journal Health Psychology.

During the course of the two-decade-long study, PsychCentral reports, 53 study participants died, most of whom had little interaction with their co-workers.

As Toker notes, a lack of emotional support in the workplace increased the risk of dying in the next two decades by 140 percent, compared to those who received support from their colleagues.

The researcher blames technology for part of the problem, suggesting that email and instant messaging programs have reduced the need for human interaction.

Among ways to make the workplace a more social place, Toker advises companies to create employee support groups in which workers can discuss problems in confidence, and coffee corners where employees can gather to sit and talk.

Stresses can be particularly acute for women in executive positions, Toker says, because they may be overwhelmed by the need to be tough at work while also maintaining the duties of running a household.

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