Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

SoylentNews is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop. Only 18 submissions in the queue.
posted by janrinok on Wednesday March 27, @10:26PM   Printer-friendly
from the beatings-shall-continue-until-morale-improves dept.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2024/03/job-flexibility-and-security-linked-to-better-mental-health-among-workers/

American workers who have more flexibility and security in their jobs also have better mental health, according to a study of 2021 survey data from over 18,000 nationally representative working Americans.

The study, published Monday in JAMA Network Open, may not be surprising to those who have faced return-to-office mandates and rounds of layoffs amid the pandemic. But, it offers clear data on just how important job flexibility and security are to the health and well-being of workers.

[...] Overall, the study's findings indicate "the substantive impact that flexible and secure jobs can have on mental health in the short-term and long-term," the researchers conclude.

They do note limitations of the study, the main one being that the study identifies associations and can't determine that job flexibility and security directly caused mental health outcomes and the work absence findings. Still, they suggest that workplace policies could improve the mental health of employees.


Original Submission

 
This discussion was created by janrinok (52) for logged-in users only, but now has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 4, Touché) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday March 27, @10:44PM (30 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday March 27, @10:44PM (#1350576)

    Workers with better mental health (self esteem) and security also negotiate for higher salaries, better benefits, shorter work weeks, more vacation, and are more likely to job-hop away when the grass is indeed greener elsewhere.

    As top level management, what do you want in your workforce?

    --
    🌻🌻 [google.com]
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +2  
       Touché=2, Total=2
    Extra 'Touché' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   4  
  • (Score: 5, Touché) by Tork on Wednesday March 27, @10:49PM (4 children)

    by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 27, @10:49PM (#1350581)

    As top level management, what do you want in your workforce?

    Less reliance on supervision because experienced workers know their job.

    --
    🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday March 28, @01:50AM (3 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday March 28, @01:50AM (#1350616)

      >Less reliance on supervision because experienced workers know their job.

      You must be thinking about skilled labor, the US economy has as much skillet labor (food and hospitality services) as it does skilled, at least in headcount.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by Tork on Thursday March 28, @02:48AM

        by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 28, @02:48AM (#1350620)
        You asked of they wanted it, not if they were making the right moves to make it happen.
        --
        🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 28, @10:15AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 28, @10:15AM (#1350655)

        It's ALL skilled labor, of one kind of another, but far be it from me to rank by importance. I have worked with all sorts of things and know that the failure of any part will screw up the whole thing.

        If the organization is going to be successful, all parts have to be working right. Yes. All of them. All this ranking crap just foments office politics, strife, and dissent. The successful teams I have had the pleasure of working with were pretty self-governing, that is it was downright embarrassing to be seen as being a drag to everyone else. Whatever you did, you did it right. I still remember that rubber chicken we had that was ceremoniously passed around to document someone who let the team down. It was known as the "Pullet Surprise" and the recipient had to display it until someone else earned it. I got it a couple of times. Taught me to be more careful to detail.

        Even the girls who did janitorial work were eligible for the award, but I never heard af any of them winning it. It was mostly for engineers, techs, or some support function. One of the girls would have got it if they didn't do their job right, but they always did. Of the entire group, they had the most spotless record. And everyone knew it.

        The worst high stress unpleasant, take-everything-out-you-job for me was in working under people who had these quickie motivational-seminar skills where they were mostly led by flow charts, no technical skill needed. All they seemed to contribute was a say-so on one's continued employment in the company.

        I considered it "malicious compliance" to obey, and "insubordination" to not obey. That paradigm generated much more stress in me than the work did. I am typical engineer. Trained in technical things, but lacking in people skills to deal with egos. The guy on top, the one having "organizational skills" put me in that position. So, do I help take down the company by going along? Or do I take down myself by "not being a team player"?

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday March 28, @12:12PM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday March 28, @12:12PM (#1350666)

          >do I help take down the company by going along? Or do I take down myself by "not being a team player"?

          That's when judicious use of door number 3, marked Exit, is in order - lateral within the company if it makes sense, but there is a rather broad job market out there, from time to time.

          When I say "skillet labor" I'm more referring to walk-on jobs that require little or no training or experience. Most successful business seem to fill themselves with these low cost highly fungible cogs. It's not that the employees lack education, experience, talent, etc. it is more that the successful business models avoid paying for those things as much as possible.

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 3, Touché) by epitaxial on Wednesday March 27, @11:10PM (5 children)

    by epitaxial (3165) on Wednesday March 27, @11:10PM (#1350586)

    How do you negotiate more vacation, other than finding a company who offers it?

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Thursday March 28, @12:42AM (2 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday March 28, @12:42AM (#1350611)

      Last small (50 employee) business I worked for, they offered two weeks PTO "standard", I offered to take the job at the agreed pay and benefits iff vacation was increased to 3 weeks. Boss man grumbled a little and agreed. Contract/offer came the next day with 3 weeks annual PTO.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 3, Funny) by epitaxial on Thursday March 28, @04:28AM (1 child)

        by epitaxial (3165) on Thursday March 28, @04:28AM (#1350628)

        And then everyone stood up and clapped.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Thursday March 28, @11:19AM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday March 28, @11:19AM (#1350660)

          No, that would have been when I negotiated my starting pay at the grocery store up from $3.35 to $6.00 per hour, while most staff had 2 years experience and was being paid low to mid 4s. Within a week of me starting they all got raises to $6 or more. I was very popular/ well liked after that, except with the assistant manager whose bonus took a hit.

          Key to that negotiation comes down to an argument I had with AsstMgr later,: "maybe you don't need this job?", "Maybe I don't."

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Thursday March 28, @03:53PM

      by VLM (445) on Thursday March 28, @03:53PM (#1350706)

      "I can start next month" "heres my two weeks notice", instant two weeks of vacation.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 28, @04:57PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 28, @04:57PM (#1350723)

      How do you negotiate more vacation, other than finding a company who offers it?

      That's easy, when i changed jobs, i asked for the standard 1 month vacation (which we don't get first year normally) and got 3 weeks paid and 1 week unpaid. This year i'll have the full month paid vacation.

      What i do not get is how do you negotiate shorter work weeks?
      Where i am, it's 37,5h per week (for my kind of job, normally for other jobs it's 40h) and they can't make me do more than 8 in some cases. I guess i gotta try asking for less next time.

      Note that i'm not from the US of A. I use my vacation time and if i get sick, i'm on a paid sick leave as long as i need to. Though i've been on sick leave for 4 days in the last 17 years.

      One thing i've always wondered about US of A is people not using their (short ass) vacation and doing so many hours without overtime. You do not accomplish more by forcing others or working yourself to the ground. I've done my share of overtime (60h a week for months, even more when allowed. The OT gets really expenssive after that, so customers usually don't like paying and do not allow more) work and i would never do that without OT compensation or in the office.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Wednesday March 27, @11:15PM (5 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Wednesday March 27, @11:15PM (#1350589)

    Workers with better mental health (self esteem) and security also negotiate for higher salaries, better benefits, shorter work weeks, more vacation

    Not necessarily.

    I'm very lucky: I have a dream job. I'm basically set for life because the company I work for has been growing consistently for 40 years, and the skills I need to do my job are hard to come by and long to acquire. So I'm extremely unlikely to ever be fired.

    On top of that, I get to do pretty much anything I want with any budget I want, no questions asked. I mean I have tasks to complete like anyone else of course. But if I decide to go on a tangent and research something or other related to our products, I'm free to do so and I don't have to justify why or the money I spend on what I do, because my employer is confident that whatever activity I engage in will result in something of value for the company.

    And if that wasn't enough, the entire company is friendly without exception: there's no toxic culture or toxic workers where I work. We respect each other, and we're encouraged to help one another or not, depending on how extraverted or introverted you are.

    I am genuinely happy to go to work every morning because I know I'll be doing something interesting with people I enjoy being around of. I've been on the job market long enough to know the position I'm in is ultra-rare.

    THAT to me is the ultimate luxury.

    And so, while I'm paid well, I'm probably not making as much as I could be making at my age and skill level. But I'm not asking for a raise or extra vacation, because I'm so satisfied with all the other aspects of my working life that I'm happy to take the pay cut.

    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Wednesday March 27, @11:36PM (2 children)

      by krishnoid (1156) on Wednesday March 27, @11:36PM (#1350595)

      And if that wasn't enough, the entire company is friendly without exception: there's no toxic culture or toxic workers where I work. We respect each other, and we're encouraged to help one another or not, depending on how extraverted or introverted you are.

      Uh huh [youtu.be] -- sounds, er, fantastic.

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Thursday March 28, @12:06AM (1 child)

        by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Thursday March 28, @12:06AM (#1350602)

        See? It's so rare in the workplace you can't even imagine that it's actually a desirable thing.

        • (Score: 1) by anubi on Thursday March 28, @11:33AM

          by anubi (2828) on Thursday March 28, @11:33AM (#1350662) Journal

          I understand, Roscoe. I have had two of those. A real pleasure to work there. Actually, I never got off work - what I did was so challenging it literally consumed me.

          In both cases, I was working for the guy who either owned the company or was the top guy in the division. No office politics. No middlemen. I understood what I needed to build, and it was a no-hold-barred effort to make it so. And I was pretty good at it.

          In one case, I got kicked out of paradise as a result of a buyout, and middlemen with all their egos didn't set well with me and my own ego. Well, gotta admit I am terribly set in my ways, and mostly not complicit with short term goals. I have my own way of doing things, often with my own tools. Kinda like a pro golfer who plays best with his own private set of clubs. Don't issue me a company computer and think I am going to be proficient with it. I have spent decades with my own machines.

          The other one was the owner died and I had a strong idea the other owner didn't like the relationship I had and wanted to rein me in to a corporate structure.

          I have no intention of becoming someone else's boss. I work with team mates. Not subordinates. Only difference, I have a engineering degree. The guy I was to supervise has 20 years experience building the company's products. I was a consultant. Not an employee. In my mind, he outrankes me. He has been with that company for 20 years. Me: 4. It was challenging work. A lot of control system design for stepper motors driving loads with multiple mechanical resonance phenomena. I cherished working with him, not competing, but working together to make our machine the finest in existence. There were several avenues of exploration to follow...I wanted to use the DSP techniques I worked with in aerospace to track out the resonances ( I had multiple resonances - some magnetic ones in the motors, and some resonances in the positioners ). I was going to implement a transversal filter much like the ones we used to characterize multipath RF commlinks. But that takes time and I need to communicate with other engineering types, not a schedule and charge number accountant guy.

          I have had some really unnecessary stressors due to other people trying to force me to do things I don't agree with, yet they want me to assume responsibility for it. This is my equivalent of capping a container of liquid and bringing it to a boil. Something is going to go. And it's not pretty.

          For me, it's piles of twisted scrap metal where a useful machine once stood. For the office executive, it's a report with some bullet points .

          I saw what those micromanagers did to other companies; I want no part of doing that to anyone else.

          Kinda a moot point now. I am now mostly into building solar panel power combiners and 304AH LiFePO4 cell balancers for retirement fun. Hopefully, I will end up with a nice set of 48VDC batteries, and matched sets of 48VDC refrigeration / HVAC compressors which I will use for food, comfort, and thermal energy storage by phase-change of water, as it's far cheaper to bank thermal energy via ice than it is to store it as electrical energy in lithium cells.

          I envy you for finding such a thing and not have some outside things wipe it out.

          --
          "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Thursday March 28, @12:55AM (1 child)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday March 28, @12:55AM (#1350613)

      >I'm very lucky: I have a dream job.

      Me too. But I'm in my 50s. Over the past 10 years I have watched a lot of coworkers in their 20s leave this dream job for things they apparently want more.

      One nice trend in our department is: people screw up one way or another, often rather significantly in ways that won't come out for several years. They know this, and bail for another company before it becomes clear how bad they screwed up. Yeah, we are stuck fixing their mess, but the company is still quite secure financially, and the screwups won't be repeating their mistakes in our department again. This outflow dramatically lowers our toxic contingent, which is already pretty low to start with.

      >know the position I'm in is ultra-rare.

      My position isn't ultra rare, but it's rare enough to warrant staying put. The majority of jobs out there aren't worth staying put in, but back to TFA: stressed out employees without financial security often don't have the time or energy to find better employment.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Friday March 29, @04:44AM

        by bzipitidoo (4388) on Friday March 29, @04:44AM (#1350805) Journal

        From what I've heard, there are two kinds of careers: many years in the same job at a good company, or job hopping from one bad company to the next. The latter has been my experience. Can't help some of that job hopping. Startups often fail and not because of anything I did or didn't do, it's because the founders had expectations and plans that didn't work out. Should they have known better? For the most part, yes. And I could've been smarter too, with more street smarts and less technical chops.

        For one of these startups, they hired me to be the chief programmer. Said they had a method of comparing images all worked out, but needed a crack programmer like me to optimize their terribly slow system for speed. I jumped on that far too quickly, without asking them nearly enough hard questions. Then, when I arrive, they tell me that actually, they hadn't tested on any images, only text, because their code couldn't handle the quantity of data needed to process an image. What?! They lied. But as long as the money was good, was that okay? I took the pay, and got to work, first increasing its capacity so it could handle images.

        As expected it was terribly slow, needing 20 minutes to compare 2 images. Their idea to speed it up was to swap out C++ iostream for the old C stdio. That sped the code up, yes, to 12 minutes. Then I said to them, okay, let me show you why you made a good choice in hiring me. I figured out what their code was doing, realized I could use a transform that was way faster than their method, and implemented that from scratch. Took me the better part of a month to get it coded and running. My version, before I'd done any optimizing, took 2 seconds to compare 2 images. Also, with their code for comparison, I saw occasional different output. I checked by hand, and found that my code produced correct output, and theirs was wrong.

        So there I am patting myself on the back for a speedup from 12 minutes to 2 seconds. We were now able to run thousand of comparisons in an hour, instead of needing a whole week to do just a handful. Another huge speed increase I did was show the college kids they'd hired how to do batch processing of images, instead of using Photoshop. But all this served to show was that their image comparison method did not work. The slower code had enabled them to cherry pick the data and kid themselves that they had a working method. Shortly after this discovery, the pay dried up. They begged me to stay on and keep working for them for free. And I said, sure, I'll work for free, if you can persuade the apartment owners I'm renting from to let me live there rent free, and the nearby grocery to give me free food. Oh, you can't do that? Then, bye bye!

        The boss did try to make amends. Sort of. He proposed that I join his financial backers at their company on the other side of the continent. He didn't explicitly say so, but it became painfully clear that his attempt to make amends was actually a set up. He was trying to manipulate me into a do-or-die situation. Make their fantasy work, or your life blows up and you lose your home and your car. Lot of managers believe in that sort of thing. I refused to go along with that scheme. Then he proposed that I go to the other side of the ocean to work in a teaching position. Um, no. He'd shown a certain deviousness and I no longer trusted him at all. He was something of a fraud, too. A PhD and a professor, and he cherry picks data? WTF? No good scientist does that!

        At a defense contracting gig, it was a similar story in the expectations, but wholly different in the environment. Much more hostility and suspicion. The military boys had unrealistic expectations, but it took a while for this to become clear. Meantime, they were trying to make it happen with their characteristic military style bullying. Throw in some sales pitches from rival defense contractors who were only too happy to tell those military idiots what they wanted to hear, that they could do the work wanted (they were lying, of course, but the military boys couldn't tell who to believe), and the constant reminders that failure could be construed as treason and us punished for that with prison time, and things were plenty stressful. Greatly magnifying the stress was our own management's incompetence and decision to feed them bull. The whole thing ended in a massive trainwreck. Management tried to pin the blame primarily on me, getting me escorted off the base, but it didn't work. The military cancelled my employer's contract anyway, and so everyone else lost their jobs too. I have never been so relieved to lose a job as that one.

        And so, I decided that as soon as I had enough saved up, I would do early retirement.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Snotnose on Thursday March 28, @12:19AM (1 child)

    by Snotnose (1623) on Thursday March 28, @12:19AM (#1350607)

    job-hop away when the grass is indeed greener elsewhere.

    As a retired old fart with 40+ years experience, the grass is often greener because more bullshit was spread.

    --
    for (glee in 1..34) println("Guilty!")
    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday March 28, @01:07AM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday March 28, @01:07AM (#1350615)

      It's certainly tricky to predict the future, but it's not too hard to evaluate a work culture on a day long interview, and the last seven jobs I have taken (and about five that I didn't get/take) had at least a full day interview/ evaluation opportunity for me.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Thexalon on Thursday March 28, @02:25AM (3 children)

    by Thexalon (636) on Thursday March 28, @02:25AM (#1350618)

    As top level management, what do you want in your workforce?

    From what I can tell from a lot of managers, what they really want is a feeling that they are being obeyed. And workers who are well-paid, mentally healthy, and happier are less likely to simply pretend to be obedient.

    --
    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday March 28, @11:25AM (2 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday March 28, @11:25AM (#1350661)

      In my experience a lot of management is filled by sadistic bastards who not only want to feel like they are being obeyed, but also feel like they are making their reports do things they wouldn't choose to do without management cracking the whip.

      I like to think that with decent pay and working conditions, such management becomes un- necessary/ redundant/ counter productive and mostly a waste of pay on the managers.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Thursday March 28, @12:27PM (1 child)

        by Thexalon (636) on Thursday March 28, @12:27PM (#1350668)

        I'll admit my comment came during a week when my normally-pretty-decent-and-well-paying job contacted me well into the evening, twice, both times over non-emergencies but with penalties if I didn't respond promptly. So I'm a bit salty right now.

        --
        The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday March 28, @01:41PM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday March 28, @01:41PM (#1350676)

          Yeah, I'm lucky enough to be left alone all but about 8-10 hours per week, so when stuff like that comes up (maybe two or three times a year, lately) I consider it part of my privilege of being so flexible the rest of the time.

          The last sadistic bastard I interacted with at this job (of 10+ years now), left around 5 years ago - if we have any new ones they seem to be steering clear of me, and/or my direct manager successfully shields me from them, which IMO is my manager's most important job not just for me but for all his reports...

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sonamchauhan on Thursday March 28, @03:02AM (6 children)

    by sonamchauhan (6546) on Thursday March 28, @03:02AM (#1350621)

    Mental health and self-esteem are not the same thing.

    In fact, an excess of self-esteem probably will damage your mental health.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 28, @12:03PM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 28, @12:03PM (#1350665)

      Point taken. Vanity.

      Think we are better than everyone else? Guilty. We did.

      I think it's whether one derived enjoyment from the work itself, or whether it's the money. A Maslow thing.

      Personally, I've been happiest where we loved what we were doing, but maybe we could have got more pay elsewhere. But who cared? We liked the lifestyle. One I was in for a while...a bunch of single guys. No wives ( well, no one wanted one ). We just did our thing. We lived it. We made some really unusual things. Our customers knew what we did and came to us. We weren't so encumbered with bureaucracy that we couldn't get anything done. We built a lot of proof-of-concept stuff. One of a kind thing.

      But eventually we got too well known. Money spoke. We died mired in bureaucracy. Everybody lost. The goose that laid the golden eggs was now officially dead. The investors were thinking bountiful ROI. What we all got was a heap of dead goose.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Thursday March 28, @02:00PM (4 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday March 28, @02:00PM (#1350680)

        >The investors were thinking bountiful ROI. What we all got was a heap of dead goose.

        Serious question: the original company staff got dead goose, but did the investors actually lose anything?

        Twice I have spun up companies to be run by investment bankers.

        Twice I waved goodbye, holding a few shares of stock, as the company ventured forth under their (toxic, both times) management.

        Twice, the investment banker management ran the company for 10-ish years, made back their investment plus decent (+10-ish% annual) returns, decided it wasn't profitable enough for them, pulled shenanigans devaluing the original investor shares plus whatever they floated in their IPOs to zero, then liquidated.

        See: debt takes precedence over equity, and when you're an investment BANK managing the company you can have the company take loans from your bank, then get the value of the company declared less than or equal to the debt you hold and reorganize with a net share value of zero: checks for $0.01 distributed to all shareholders. You can also pull a fast Chapter 11->7 exit and leave your customers holding hundreds of millions of dollars of now worthless junk that was supposed to be doing a better job of treating difficult cancer cases for decades to come. All the while, the people "managing" these bankruptcy transition proceedings are being compensated at $500 to $1500 per HOUR from the company's remaining assets for their time spent on the proceedings.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Freeman on Thursday March 28, @02:17PM (3 children)

          by Freeman (732) on Thursday March 28, @02:17PM (#1350683) Journal

          That's the kind of thing that should be illegal.

          --
          Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Thursday March 28, @02:40PM (2 children)

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday March 28, @02:40PM (#1350687)

            That's the kind of thing that Maryland law protects.

            Twice, the Florida based companies being invested in by New York based bankers were incorporated in Maryland.

            --
            🌻🌻 [google.com]
            • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Freeman on Thursday March 28, @02:57PM (1 child)

              by Freeman (732) on Thursday March 28, @02:57PM (#1350695) Journal

              Ah, the bastion of freedom that state is. You'd think with it being so close to D. C. oh, wait, nevermind.

              --
              Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"