How shift work impacts the health of employees

(Johnson 1999). Shift work is defined as the system where the people work on the regular bases based on shifts, these shifts are divided into three blocks they are morning shift, afternoon shift and night shifts. Work shift show complications in the schedule of family life’s activities, and negative health effects. (Halpern,2005; Levin-Epstein, 2006; Rosa and Colligan, 1997; Coasta, 2003). Shift workers are defined as anything other than normal day time timetable. These may includes evening work, night rotation, split shift, causal or on call job and irregular shifts. Work life differences affect full time workers (Williams, 2008). Shift work system leads to many physiological and psychosocial problems which affect the health of the individual’s workers. (e.g., Nachreiner et al. 1995, Costa 1996), Physical health variables include gastrointestinal problems, sleep problems and psycho vegetative. (Akerstedt, 1985) employees who work fixed shifts will show less physical health problems compared to rotating shift employee in rotating shifts report more physical health complaints than those with fixed shifts . According to Basner (2005), about 20% of the employers at the workplace do work in shifts. Therefore, in that the case it is seen that the shift work does effect the routine system of the person as a whole. It affects the abdominal system and does effect in psychological terms too. According to McCall (2004), did a study on the employees of the hospital and they found that their life is on risk while working on shift work and increases the severity of occurrence of problems and the Oregon’s working data came out on the conclusion that the workers who were doing night and evening shifts were on more risk than those working on day shifts.

Serious health risk factor occurs due to circadian rhythm disturbed in shift workers. Main reason for shift work is due to the nature of the job, occupational services such as nurses, doctors, and police officers are related with shift works. (Smith and Ward, 1986) The three prominently identified associates of experienced stress are: Alcohol use, family problems, self-reported medical maladies by Military police. (Spring, 1980) men working different shifts are likely to take heavy drinks some digestive supports on regular basis, where as women working in different shifts take tranquilizers and sleeping pills on regular bases to reduce stress problems. Both men and women working variable shifts show emotional efforts. Employees who are working night shifts are mostly exposed to the breast cancers.(Schernhammer et al. 2003) suggest that employees who are working rotating night shift for 3 days in a month for more than 15 years shows colorectal cancer in women. Circadian rhythm desynchronisation, the disruption of the body’s biological rhythm has been a significant factor in explaining shift work’s effects on health, (Moore-Ede at al. 1962). The actuality that shift work disrupts eating, sleeping working patterns is a cause for concern. In his studies , Halberg (1959) the term ‘circadian rhythms’ which has been used to explain the various bodily functions over the 24 hour cycle, (Harrington, 1978). Our bodies follow a natural rhythm and a vast research has been done in this field.

A general survey conducted in the 2005 states that about 45% of people working belongs to health occupational field. (Folkard, 1996) shift workers that do hard jobs will need to actually relax, this is called desynchronization. Health-related risk factors occur due to the disturbance circadian rhythmic connection to the shift works. It is important to note that employees who stop doing the shift work show more health problem compared to present shift workers (Frese and Semmer 1986). Social problem and family problems are observed in shift workers; these problems diminish by day to day life activities such as their children’s education, they spend less time with their families as a effect of shift work, And also decrease in the spouse pleasure (Smith and Folkard, 1993), researches are opposing studies on work-nonworking argument with rotating shifts among workers (Bohle and Tilley 1989). Some of the findings of other research show that employees working shifts show difficulty in utilizing the potential of spare time (Baer et al. (1981, 1985). The effect of shift work may be due to shifts rotation so ignoring working evening hours or weakened hours will improve the physical and psychological well being of these workers (Monk and Folkard 1985).

The studies have also found that the rotation shifts and positive attitude at the work place have been greatly linked. Those who are working on the rotation shift have the positive job attitude. Positive job attitude behavior is less in Rotating shift workers i.e. Organizational commitment, and job satisfaction, compared to fixed shift workers, some of the other research finding states that fixed shift works show less favorable job approach compared to Rotating shift workers (Jamal 1981). The central research states that working in socially rotating shift or fixed shifts i.e. evening and weekends show different increased levels of burnout, home conflict, and negative job attitudes such as turnover intentions, commitments, organization, and job satisfaction. And also show absence and impaired general health. These central research studies mainly focus on rotating vs. fixed shifts and working hours evening, day time and weekends.

To minimize health risk by shift work much can be done such as employers can make sure that there is enough time for employees to have health food at right time, best way to achieve this is to provide microwave so that employees can bring healthy food and have a place to heat their food during meal time and also employers can put in place and open lunch system whereby given who are on 12 hrs shift. The opportunities have a tea break, and lunch break each time which is necessary such effects helps to reduce the risk of getting gastro intestinal disorders.


For shift work, in order to minimize the overall risk on a shift schedule, we need to consider the provision of breaks within them, number of successive, and the length of shift work. Furthermore, it is clear that these factors need to be considered in mixture with one another since for example, a 12 hour shift work includes regular rest breaks which prove to be safer than the usual 8 hour night shift with just a lone break.


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Critically review the evidence that work-life conflict leads to negative health outcomes

Greenhaus & Beutell., (1985). Defined as Bi-directional relation between work and family life. It is the form of inter -role conflict in which pressure from both family and work are mismatched. Work and family has two direction of conflict. There are two types of conflicts observed i.e. Family-to-work conflict and work-to family conflict, Family-to-work conflict takes place when the work combines with family life (Example-parents may take leave to attain the family function), in the same way Work-to-family conflict occurs when work interfere with family life activities. (For example unexpected meeting from the higher officials may stop the person from picking up of the children).

(Frone, Russell, & Cooper, 1992; Kinnunen & Mauno, 1998) employees are more focus on work-to-family conflict then the family-to-work conflict. (Allen et al., 2000; Byron,2005). Conflict on work-life shows negative health results such as job attitude and impaired health, due to this effects vast research has been done directly on work-family problem and its results. Person when performing different roles in his life at a time is called overload, but these people show different attitude in the home and office permissions. Work load and increased working hours leads to many negative outcomes like (Burke & Green glass, 1999; Phillips-Miller, Campbell, & Morrison, 2000) decreased job performance, reduce job satisfaction (Allen, 2001).it also show psychological problems like anxiety, poor physical health, depression, increased level of alcohol use. (Frone,Russell, & Cooper., 1997; Major et al., 2002). Thus these psychological problems show both direct and indirect effect on work -family relationships.

Work -family balance were explained by three ways i.e. Time balance in which time is equally balanced with work and family ,second is involvement balance where equal involvement is required to maintain work and family and the third one is satisfaction balance were work and family is equally satisfaction. Investigations show that individual’s show high quality of life when they spend more times with family then the work.

Research conducted on working mothers. This study examine the families were mother and father are working according to this survey, Work-to-family show positive response to life satisfaction, job satisfaction and negative response to individual stress. Family-to-work show positive response to family satisfaction, life satisfaction, and marital satisfaction. But show negative effect organizational commitments. In this study it explains that father works more than 49 hours in a week and spends most of the time in the house hold matters where as mother’s works less compared to father and show less involvement in the house matters i.e. they work only 46 hours in a week. However father show less work-family conflict, greater family satisfaction, marital satisfaction and less individual stress and more life satisfaction compared to working mothers.

A Study conducted was conducted by Portuguese university student’s .these people interview and collected the data from in depth 32 interviews from different back ground. Finding of these study shows that worries are mainly felt by the mother particularly children dependent mother. The data also proposed that work-family procedure are unsuccessful if they are not supported by a positive work-family background.

(Cooper and Quick,1999). Work life conflict may leads to undeveloped performance which is difficult to face to the confronts, rewards and chances. Working may result in poor inspiration, poor efficiency, and poor person growth; this state is called as qualitative under load. This under load stress may result complicated stresses and health problems. Some of the examples which enter in to daily life are changes in the job performance, lack of endorsement and concentration and from the officials, cold and warm clashes with generation, difficulty in implementing the new group structure and working on computer programs. All this situations may affect health and well being of the individuals as well as organisation. Examples which leads to conflicts in case of organization (Cooper, 1999) are: if there is change in employee and organizational relationship, change in the products, production and in technology department side.

The current rate of place and change have accelerated in the past few decades. In the present global scenario, the need to be globally competitive in order for economies to stay afloat and sustain growth, significant burden is placed on the drivers of growth; these are the individuals at large. This huge strain on individuals and organizations has led to some degree of family breakdown. It is strange and ironic to view workplace as a source of money and comforts on one hand, on the other hand as a source of stress, depression and health related problems. (Higgins and Duxbury: 2002). According to Bachmann, 2002 there is an established correlation between a satisfied, committed, motivated, individuals and health and well being. Over 5 million people in the UK have asthma, suggesting upwards of 75000 could have work related asthma ,worsened by work.38,000 people have work related skin problems that are manifested in the form of eczema and contact dermatitis. NHS figures are staggeringly high in terms of GP visits annually. Stress related financial costs are something to the tune of 12 billion pounds annually. This mounting evidence ought to compel government, policy makers, trade unions, researchers and various organizations to join hands and formulate policies in favor of family friendly working style that could to some degree alleviate some issues.


Work-life conflict both in family and organization leads the individuals to many physical and physiological problems to avoid these problems individuals should learn some professional skills like working teams, dealing with group thinking’s, facing bullying situations, learning how to manage the stress conditions, developing the skills to reach the goals. And gain knowledge which is essential to keep the individuals to work without undergoing stress.


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Discuss and critically evaluate research that has examined the impact of bullying at work

Workplace bulling research began in Sweden in the 1980s. Research from both countries like Finland (Bjorkquist et al, 1994) and Norway (Adams and Crawford, 1992) conducted studies on work harassment and mobbling.Andrea Adam 1990, a British Freelances journalist brought the phenomenon bulling this leads to develop numbers of researches by UK scholars. According to (Baron & Neuman, 1996; Einarsen Matthiesen, & Skogstad, 1998; Keashly, 1998). Workplace bullying is defined as a persistent and continuous pattern of abuse of work and negative events directed at workers. Bullying is a form of coercive interpersonal power. It involves intentional impose of injuries, verbal abuse, exclusion and repeated physical contact, offensive teasing, isolation, social exclusion other negative actions. (Forsyth,2006). Due to this situation the target finds difficult to him or her or to face the situation. These situations may leads to severe mental, physical and psychological disease. Bullying in everyday life may cause humiliation and harm if it occurs on regular basis. Many researches also showed that large amount of money is wasted due to destructive conflict and bulling at work.

Surveys among some 8,000 Norwegian employees, 54 per cent of the victims reported that bullying is done by a superior (Einarsen and Skogstad, 1996). Supervisors and managers are seen as the bullies in many cases, this is due to power differences in the parties. (Zapf, in press) In English, Austrian, German, studies states that between 70 and 80 per cent are bullied by a superior. Victims who suffered by the supervisors seems to face more psychological problems compared to victims of co-worker. (Einarsen and Raknes, 1997a; 1997b)

Leymann (1993) interviewed victim and stated that there are four factors responsible for eliciting harassment at work. Deficiencies in work design, a low moral standard in the department a socially exposed position of the victim, and deficiencies in leadership behaviour (Randall, 2001) Individuals are deeply ashamed of being maltreated and are at their bewildered at their obvious failure to protect themselves and fight back.(Bernardi 2001, Strawbridge 2001) workplace bulling leads to many consequences like the individuals show less productivity they may also suffer from trauma related illness and also they are great risk at self harming behaviour due to this situations some individuals may quite the job without thinking that they do not have new job.

According to Layman (1990), the term bullying was used without giving the term of schoolyard and this was for the very first time used in about 1990. There have been many studies which says that bullying have been a top most thing to spread all over the world in many countries and about 3% of the population from Scandinavia effected because of bullying at the work place (Einarsen and Skogstad, 1996; Layman, 1992). According to Hoel (1996), the students from United Kingdom have also been at the top that show the rate of bullying of around 10%.

According to Mikkelson and Einarsen (2002), a psychological variable such as fear, anxiety, and helplessness has been found to be the cause of the psychological harm by the person. These variables do effect the job satisfaction and commitment and person do inclined low towards the job.

According to Cooper et al., (2003), did a study on 674 males and 981 females who were working in the hospitals and studied the correlation between the work-place bullying and how health affected their job. The participants reported the increased rates of leave and sickness and also increase in absent rate. The participants also reported the effect on the mental and physical health.

Quine, 1999; edition, 2001 &hunt, 2001) bulling in medical setting will give rare insights of health professionals. The practice’s can be studied under two categories i.e. hierarchical workplace bulling & horizontal workplace bulling. Horizontal workplace bulling is related to nursing (Duffs, 1995, Lee 2001 Strawbridge 2001; Hocking 2002) and these publications states that workplace bulling occurs between professionals and workers will show some levels of bulling in the same field. In Britain, study conducted on NHS community trust and reported that 38% of employees working in health sectors experiences bulling at work in the previous years .Some study reported that 37% of 594 junior doctors was bullied in past year (Quine, 2002), medical students in United States suffer high level of job related bulling during their training period. (Daughters, Baldwin and Rouley, 1998. Kassebaum and Luttes, 1980).

The other form of bulling at work is the sexual harassment may reduce productivity, increase stress, decreasing commitments and threatened by the individuals may occur. Criminal justice & public order act 1994 says about harassment the other form of bulling at work is sexual harassment where male domination is more ranges from serious rape to less serious but understanding behaviors such as sexual jokes.

Australian medical students experiences high level of bulling during their medical training but they named these bulling as sexual harassment (White, 2001).Combination of increasing competition economic rationalism, downsizing, dynamic, “Macho management styles have created a culture where bulling can be removed or thrive.

(Besag, 1989) for several years’ research has been done on bulling at schools and he states that it is stable phenomenon. United Kingdom shows high incidences of bulling in schools (Butch& Knoff, 1994), his research also states that all students show bulling at their study level. Survey conducted on part time students at Startfordshire University i.e. 1137 samples and they also asked the worst working situation where they were bullied. Then they answered that 53% were bullied at some point in their working period, and among them 19% were singled victimized and remaining were bullied in groups.(Coyne et al., 2000), Bullying results in a ripple outcome signifying that the occurrence do not engage just a few troubled employees, but instead it is an active process that negatively affects everyone in the work setting. In bullying work atmosphere non exposed workers will show less negative experiences compared to exposed workers .worker that are exposed to bullying conditions will show more stress and mental problems than non-exposed workers (Vartia, 2001, p. 65).Many research proposed that bullying show negative impacts on work quality results.

(Rayner et al., 2002, p. 56)Additionally, co-workers who see their colleagues abused more often leave their jobs as a result of their contact with bullying than non-exposed workers.


Bulling is regarded as obsessive and compulsive behaviour. Due to this bulling effect there will be low self esteem low self confidence, In order to eliminate bullying at work, organizations need to take steps against elimination of bullying otherwise it affects morale and effectiveness of employee (Randall, 1997). It is important to speak with someone who solves the problem informally like trade union official or human resources department otherwise manages or supervisor some employees are specially trained to solve harassment problems they are called harassment advisers to face problems they are called harassment advisers to face problem at work in ordered to get good output.


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Randall, P. (2001) Bullying in Adulthood: Assessing the Bullies and Their Victims. New York: Brunner-Rutledge

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Besag, v. (1989), bullies and their victims in schools, Open University press, Milton Keynes.

Randall, P. (1997), Adult bullying: perpetrators and victims, Routledge, London and New York.

Drawing on recent research, compare and contrast the effectiveness of primary and secondary/tertiary stress management strategies in improving employee wellbeing.

The stress in relation to work is a significant and is considered an important barrier for a variable such as job satisfaction and also to act better in psychosocial activities. According to Cox et al (2002), about 60% of the people are losing their job and not going to work because of the stress. According to the statistics of European foundation (2000), shows that there are 15% of employees complains about the headache, 25% of them indicate the symptoms of pains in neck and shoulders, 23% cases because of fatigue, 28% cause because of stress and 33% because of backache. Also, an employee assistance programmers laid an importance to provide the counseling to the employees who are suffering from stress or have difficulties related to the work-life balance and problems related to alcohol and drug intake.

According to Jones et al. (1998), a survey being done in UK, showed that about 27% of the workers suffered from psychological problems such as anxiety and depression, and also stress caused many people to give up their jobs and about 20 working days were lost. In an another survey by US called as National health interview survey, found out that about millions of employees suffer from mental stress at their work place which effect their health. According to Antai-Otong (2001), stress effected and added few more problems such as burnout, other chronic problems which ultimately affected their job performance and lower down the productivity and also, lowering down their morale.

The literature has also shown many longitudinal studies been done on intervention of stress management at workplace, therefore literature also talked about the cross sectional studies but could not successfully tackle out the issues and also long lasting effect of the interventions could not be seen. The stress management interventions fall under three categories which are: primary intervention, secondary intervention and finally tertiary intervention.

The primary intervention aim at the redesigning, changing the work systems and changing the entire structure of organization. Therefore, it aims at primarily removing the stressor or the thing that cause to create the stress at the work place. The intervention at the primary level facilitates and increases the control over the job and also the environment at their work place and also this in turn reduces the stressors, therefore by increasing the satisfaction of the workers and their well being too. This all includes giving the proper and good working hours and the shifts patterns, and also the description of the role should be clear enough so that no stress can be laid upon the workers.

According to Lazarus (2000), the primary interventions are related to the copying strategies which are problem focused and therefore reduces the causes and different sources of stress.

The next intervention called secondary intervention aims at modifying the stressors which are expected or predicted and causes stress at work place. The secondary intervention, unlike primary deals with the experiences related to the stress and not by stress, as a word, for example, the coping such as emotional focused aims at reducing the emotional state related to the stress at the work place and minimizing and reducing the stressor from the person, who is experiencing the stress. Apart from this, the secondary intervention involves stress management training, social support, biofeedback etc. According to Allen et al (1999) explored and stated that experience does matter and that help in helping new employees and feel them comfortable so that they may not feel the stress at high level and thus encourage socialization. Also, a correlation was calculated and it was seen that there was a negative correlation between the socialization and stress at work. Therefore, we can say that support and relationship between colleagues and peer relation at work place is so important. Social support is therefore important by making contacts with people who are directly or indirectly related to their work place.

Jones et al., (2000) did a study in the hospitals to see the impact of the stress management on the employers. These programs helped to improve the skills to cope with the stress and other relaxation techniques were also used. Thereafter, it was also seen that after couple of months, there was a fall in the medication. Then thereafter, a follow up was taken for 2 years and less negligence was seen after the program of stress management was undertaken.

The third and the final intervention is the tertiary intervention. According to Quick et al., (1997), tertiary interventions includes the programs such as counseling, psychotherapy and employee assistant programs As discussed at the starting various programs, employee assistance programs (EAP) has been used to tackle the behaviour which are injurious to health such as alcohol intake or problems related to drug intake, however EAP’s have been successful with such patients. Sadri (1991) found in the study that the progress has been seen among the employees by enhancing their self esteem and progress have been found in their mental health state.

More studies have been found that have seen that more interventions of stress management. Murphy (1996) did a review on the stress management intervention among the employers at their work place such as B.P., anxiety and other psychological problems. The techniques such as cognitive behavioral techniques, meditation, biofeedback and other strategies were reviewed, whereas meditation showed a positive and consistent results but it is hardly used in the organizations. Techniques such as cognitive behavioral strategies and relaxation reported to be successful. Also, there was a consistent and positive result among the various techniques altogether, therefore, their combination proved to be more effective than using any single strategy.

Therefore, according to Quick et al., (1997), it would be suitable to say that primary interventions are the most convenient and best method of intervention because they are actively involved in eliminating the causes of stress, but secondary and tertiary approaches do help in stress management but they are only limited in removing the sources of stress but not the stress itself and this is where primary intervention plays an important role in eliminating the stress itself.