Improving Performance and Job Satisfaction: What Works?

A study examines the effects of environmental and organizational factors on shiftworkers at a printing company.

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There is more to work than meets the eye; we all know that.

There are a variety of factors related to work environment, job content, organizational issues and individual characteristics that can influence work performance, job satisfaction and health.

A new study from a group of researchers from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) explored the effects of environmental and organizational stressors on the health of shiftworkers at a printing company. They used a questionnaire to gather data on work history, organizational factors, psychosocial characteristics, medical history, present health, occupational and nonoccupational exposures and lifestyle factors. The results are published in the October issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The study subjects were 124 male workers who were employed for at least a year at a printing company in San Paulo. They had been employed at the company from one to 25 years, and ranged in age from 21 to 58.

The researchers found that workers attributed a number of physical and psychological conditions on their work. They associated chronic back pain, varicose veins, allergic rhinitis, depression and gastritis on environmental and organizational factors. Anxiety scores were associated with allergic rhinitis and skin allergies. Shiftwork was a significant risk factor for conjunctivitis, depression, cardiac arrhythmia and gastritis. Other associations include:

  • tenure on the job and chronic back pain;
  • toluene exposure and skin allergy;
  • worksite and conjunctivitis;
  • worksite and dermatitis
  • number of hours of exercise and varicose veins;
  • alcohol intake and cardiac arrhythmia

"The combined effects of environmental and organizational stressors at work presented important risk factors associated with diseases on the workers of the printing company studied," said researchers.

They said their findings "confirmed the association between environmental and organizational factors and general health deterioration." They added that without taking a multidimensional approach to preventing work-related disease, "a healthy work life cannot be achieved."

by Sandy Smith

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