Friday, July 18, 2008

You Don't Have to Be Crazy to Work Here, But It's Expected

Those scientists are ever so coy, trying to imply that the workforce is brimming with neurotics without saying anything concrete. According to a piece in the July Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine nearly 5% of employess have "high levels of psychological distress" that is usually associated with "a high likelihood of a mental disorder." They're not saying that 5% of the workforce is crazy, they're just saying that it's possible that 5% of the workforce could go crazy.

If you're unfamiliar with the publication, it is put out by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM). The strange thing is that this study that they have published was performed on 60,500 full-time employees of Australian companies. My two questions would be:

-Is this 5% figure larger or smaller than the percentage of the general population that experiences high levels of psychological distress?

-why are we assuming that a survey of Australian employees can apply to workforces across the globe? Wouldn't regional laws and cultural attitudes concerning the workplace have an affect on employees?

I am reluctant to adapt an Australian's study findings to apply across the globe, but I agree with its declaration that "employers need to focus health resources on a common, debilitating, largely untreated illness group that substantially reduces employee productivity at work, increases absences from work, and increases employee attrition."

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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