The workplace is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States! That’s what Stanford professor Jeffrey Pfeffer shares in his new book, Dying for a Paycheck. In it, Pfeffer contends that “many modern management commonalities such as long work hours, work-family conflict, and economic insecurity are toxic to employees—hurting engagement, increasing turnover, and destroying people’s physical and emotional health—and also inimical to company performance.”
Jeffrey, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, started making these connections after hearing me talk about it in one of my speeches.
We at Barry-Wehmiller began looking at the link between leadership and wellness several years ago. A few months ago, I wrote a piece on LinkedIn about it “Wellness and Work: What’s the ROI of Caring?” One of the most affecting things I’ve ever heard about the work and wellness connection was said by a representative of a major health organization who told me that the person you report to at work can be more important to your health than your family doctor. It makes sense. The workplace is one of the biggest causes of stress and there are strong links between stress and health. You can’t just address wellness with exercise programs and then treat people like crap. The way we lead impacts the way people live and that extends to the health and wellbeing of those within our span of care.
Until organizations do a better job of letting their people know they are valued and cared for, we won’t even begin to move the needle on team member wellbeing.
Dying for a Paycheck is eye opening. If you want to hear more from the author, here’s a very good interview.