Certain Work Characteristics Lead To Burnout, Illness

                               Asheville, NC (CompNewsNetwork) - Job burnout among employees working in human service settings may lead to long-term illnesses, reports a study in the October Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The research performed at the Danish National Research Centre for the Working Environment was compiled from a large-scale study of public-sector workers in human service settings, including Social Security offices, institutions for the disabled and home care services.

Certain work characteristics contributed to employee burnout, most notably "role conflicts" – knowing things should be done a certain way but being required to do them a different way. High emotional demands, poor role clarity and low leadership also significantly contributed to sickness absence. Workers who experienced burnout had a more than three times greater risk of long-term sickness absence.

The results identify some key work characteristics affecting the risk of burnout and sickness absence in human service workers. Efforts to improve these on-the-job strains—especially role conflicts and high emotional demands—might help to reduce burnout. "At least as important, [human service] organizations should be attentive to employees with symptoms of burnout to prevent long-term sickness," lead author Dr. Borritz and colleagues conclude.

This material is provided as general information and is not a substitute for legal or other professional advice.

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Preston Diamond is Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Institute of WorkComp Professionals, based in Asheville, NC. It trains, tests and certifies select insurance professionals to alert employers about the hidden costs and overcharges in the Workers' Compensation insurance system. He can be contacted at 828-274-0959 or preston@workcompprofessionals.com, www.workcompprofessionals.com

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