Being treated unfairly by management has the greatest effect on an employee’s mood, while a heavy workload has little or no effect, a new study has shown.
The research from the Department if Occupational Medicine at the Aarhus University Hospital studied 4,500 public employees at Danish schools, hospitals, nurseries, offices.
It used questionnaires, interviews and concentration of the stress hormone cortisol in saliva from the participants to determine who suffered from clinical depression.
Psychologist Matias Brødsgaard Grynderup, PhD, of the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University says ”We may have a tendency to associate depression and stress with work pressure and workload; however, our study shows that the workload actually has no effect on workplace depression.
”This suggests that the risk of workplace depression cannot be minimised by changing the workload. Other factors are involved, and it is these factors that we should focus on in the future.”
The research suggests that looking at the employees’ own assessment of the work environment and possible changes to the work environment has a much better preventive effect on depression than reduced workload.
”When the employees’ sense of justice plays such a central role in minimising the risk of depression, this is probably the area that the preventive work should focus on,” says Grynderup.
“I recommend a management style in which there is a clearly expressed wish to treat employees properly – combined with a transparent organisational structure.”
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