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Control and Emotional Support Boost Worker Wellbeing

Update Date: Nov 21, 2013 08:36 AM EST
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Feeling in control, having emotional support and being able to confide in others increases wellbeing at work, according to new research.

A new study of 5,182 London-based civil servants revealed that higher levels of wellbeing were impacted by high levels of control at work, high levels of emotional support and being able to confide in others, and low levels of job strain.

Researchers the findings held true even after taking into account other sources of life satisfaction and stress, plus individual characteristics like personality traits.

The findings suggest that increasing the positive aspect of work, rather than only reducing the negative aspects, may help boost morale and wellbeing among employees, according to researchers.

"The so-called 'happiness debate' has gained a lot of attention in recent years, with economists, politicians and psychologists all hypothesizing on how to create a happy society. If the Government proceeds with the idea of measuring wellbeing as an indicator of Britain's progress, it is crucial they know what impacts a person's wellbeing," Stephen Stansfeld, professor of psychiatry at Queen Mary University of London, said in a news release.

"This study shows the quality of our working conditions and personal relationships are key to the nation's happiness. We believe any policies designed to improve the workplace should not just minimize negative aspects of work, but more crucially, increase the positive aspects, such as a creating a greater sense of control and support among employees," he added.

"The quality of the working environment has a very important effect on how a person feels and greater wellbeing may also be related to greater productivity and performance at work, increased commitment and staff retention as well as effects on physical health and lifespan," Stansfeld said.

The findings are published in the journal PLOS One

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