Organic Consumers Association

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Why Wellness in the Workplace Matters

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's Health Issues Page and our Fair Trade & Social Justice Page.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that stress costs American businesses $300 billion a year; and a Workplace Survey done by the American Psychological Association reported that many Americans suffer from chronic work-related stress.1

The effects of our increasingly 24/7 work environments have gotten so bad that 38 percent of employees in one survey said they can't stop thinking about problems related to emotional, health, financial, and job concerns.2

If you ask those around you - your co-workers, friends, neighbors, and family - what they've been up to lately, there's a good chance you'll get a chorus of "busy" responses, a rattled off list of obligations and to-dos that we all scarcely have time for.

Yet, such busyness is valued in many cultures, including in the US where workers are increasingly expected to be on call both day and night. The implications this has on family life, leisure time, and personal health is immense, a topic that was recently explored in an intriguing Atlantic interview.3

Why Are US Workers So Overwhelmed?

In an interview with the Atlantic, writer Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, explained that birth rates are actually declining in the US, as young people simply don't see how they can juggle both work and family life, with the latter being ultimately sacrificed.

Busyness and "living a fast-paced life" are increasingly being viewed as signs of status. The more e-mails you have to check in a day, the more important you are. The more meetings you attend, phone calls you receive, and lessons your child attends, the better. On the work front, especially, extreme hours are valued and overwork has become the norm.     

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