Supportive partners make work stress easier


After a tough day at work it's likely you'll want to vent, slamming everything from that annoying colleague to how tight your deadlines are. And having an understanding partner who's willing to listen could actually have more of an impact on your workplace happiness than having a good boss.

You might think a nice boss who understands your needs and makes you feel valued is the key, but Canadian researchers found a supportive other half is just as crucial to your wellbeing and avoiding burnout.

Burnout is a psychological condition, characterised by extreme exhaustion, higher levels of irritability and a loss of interest in work.

Now the University of Montreal and Concordia University have focused on the mental health of 1,954 employees in 63 companies to explore the condition further. The study focused on factors such as parental status, social network, household income, gender, age, feelings of self-esteem and physical health. These factors were then examined in light of common workplace stressors such as job insecurity, lack of leadership and inadequate use of skills.

Work-related mental health wasn't just affected by the office, it was found by the study. The home environment also played a big part, although professional factors were still important. Those less prone to mental health problems generally had higher household incomes, fewer family conflicts and easy access to a social support network. Employees were also happier when they received encouragement, felt valued and had job security.

"This is a call to action," lead author Steve Harvey, a professor of management and dean of the John Molson School of Business at Concordia, said.

"Researchers need to broaden their perspective in order to have an overview of the complexity of factors that determine the mental health of a person."

Alain Marchand, a professor at the School of Industrial Relations at the University of Montreal, added: "To combat mental health problems at work and maintain a labour-work really healthy, we need to look beyond the single workplace."

© Cover Media

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