双语|研究:缺乏自主权的工作会让人短命


The Covid-19 pandemic has been stressful in so many ways that it can be hard to tease apart the strands of what’s getting us down or freaking us out. But amidst the health concerns, family worries, and social distancing strangeness, increased work stress certainly stands out as a widespread consequence of the pandemic.

新冠肺炎给人们带来了很多方面的压力,各种压力交织在一起,简直分不清是什么在导致我们感到沮丧或抓狂。这些压力当中,有对健康的忧虑,有对家庭的担心,也有社交隔离产生的陌生感,当然工作压力的增加作为疫情造成的一个普遍后果也很突出。

In this environment, a new study titled “This job is (literally) killing me” seems particularly timely.

在这种环境下,一项名为《这份工作真要了我的命》的新研究似乎特别应景。

The study, by researchers at Northern Illinois University and Indiana University, used data collected over a 20-year period to find out whether there is a link between how we feel at work and when we die. Sure enough, the researchers discovered that two specific factors—having a high-stress job and low control over one’s work—were correlated with higher mortality rates.

这项研究是由北伊利诺伊州大学和印第安纳大学的研究人员开展的。为了获知人们的工作感受和人们的死亡年龄之间是否有关联,该研究运用了在20年间收集的数据。果不其然,研究人员发现了高压力的工作和缺乏自主权的工作着两个特定因素与更高的死亡率有关。

During the 20-year period, over 3,000 Americans, most of whom were in their 40s at the outset of the study, were tracked at three separate points by the Midlife in the United States Survey. Analyzing that data, the current study found that those with high-stress, low-control jobs were 43% more likely to die than those in lower-risk categories.

在20年的时间里,“美国中年调查”在三个不同的时间点对3000多名美国人进行了追踪调查,多数人在研究开始时都是40多岁。当前的这项研究分析数据发现,那些工作压力大、自主权低的人比工作压力小、自主权高的人死亡率高出43%。

People who died in the course of the study died for all kinds of reasons. People who suffered from depression were 130% more likely to die early, according to Erik Gonzalez-Mulé, an assistant professor at the University of Indiana’s Kelley School of Business, who co-authored the study. Those with high-stress, low-autonomy jobs who died were also likely to have suffered depression.

在研究过程中去世的人死因各有不同。研究报告的合著者、印第安纳大学凯莱商学院的助理教授埃里克·冈萨雷斯-穆勒说,患有抑郁症的人早逝可能性高出130%。那些工作压力大、自主权低的早逝者也可能患有抑郁症。

Gonzalez-Mulé says his takeaway is not that everyone should quit their jobs in terror. Rather, he says, those with influence over employees’ work experience—like company heads and managers—should do as much as possible to increase workers’ feelings of autonomy, especially for workers in high-stress jobs.

冈萨雷斯-穆勒说,他要说的重点不是大家应该惊恐地辞职,而是那些对员工的工作体验有影响力的人——比如公司领导和经理——应该尽可能提高员工的自主感,尤其是那些工作压力大的员工。

takeaway [ˈteɪkəweɪ]: n. 要点

Lowering stress at work isn’t always possible: Some jobs, like working on a tricky contruction site or attending medical emergencies, are inherently stressful. But adding a sense of autonomy is sometimes possible. Gonzalez-Mulé says one comparatively simple option is to allow people to decide where to work, whether that’s from home or, in former times, from a café or other non-office workspace. In that way, the Covid-19 pandemic may have actually moved things forward: Employers who were reluctant to take the step of allowing flexible working on employees’ terms have had to adapt fast and, in many cases, have seen positive results.

降低工作压力并不总是可行的:有些工作,比如棘手的建筑工地或急诊部的工作本质上就是高压的。但是增加工作的自主感有时候还是可能的。冈萨雷斯-穆勒说,一个相对简单的选择是,允许人们决定在哪里工作,无论是在家,还是像过去那样在咖啡馆或其他非办公室的场所。从这个角度来看,新冠疫情也许还真是推动了事物的进步:过去不愿意让员工根据自己的需要灵活安排工作的公司不得不迅速适应形势,在很多情况下都获得了积极的结果。

There are other ways that companies can increase workers’ autonomy too, especially for those for whom working from home isn’t an option. “Allowing people to choose what they want to do is kind of a higher order level of autonomy, whereas just allowing people to prioritize tasks and tackle things in the order they want is kind of on the low end,” says Gonzalez-Mulé. Some high-end tech companies might give employees the pick of teams or projects. Firms without so much wiggle room can still allow individuals to make their own day-to-day or hour-to-hour choices—and that can make a big difference to well-being.

还有其他能增加员工自主权的方式,尤其是对那些无法在家工作的员工而言。冈萨雷斯-穆勒说:“允许人们选择自己想做的事情是一种更高级的自主权,而只是允许人们按照自己选择的优先顺序处理任务是一种低级的自主权。”一些高科技公司也许可以让员工挑团队或项目。无法提供这么大选择空间的公司仍然可以允许员工选择自己每天或每小时干什么——而这会让幸福感发生很大变化。

“Something that we’ve known for a long time is that people, in general, like being given autonomy. Besides the impact to their health and the like, they just tend to be more satisfied, they’re more productive,” Gonzalez-Mulé says. “It’s just a human need, to be able to act in a way that you want to and not just be told by someone else.”

冈萨雷斯-穆勒说:“长久以来我们都知道,人们一般都喜欢有自主权。除了有益健康,有自主权的人通常更满足,生产效率也更高。能够按照自己的意愿行事,而不是被他人驱使,这是一种人性的需求。”

The researchers also discovered that having low cognitive ability, plus high stress, correlated with higher mortality.

研究人员还发现,认知能力较低而且压力大的人死亡率更高。

Interestingly, the study also found that people in stressful jobs but who had high control over their work were actually more likely to survive than those in low-stress jobs. They appeared to thrive and stay healthier. One reason, the researchers speculated, was that having high autonomy allowed them to shape their lives in healthier, happier ways, like building in exercise, time outdoors, or relaxation, even alongside more stringent work demands.

有趣的是,该研究还发现,工作压力大但有较高自主权的人实际上比工作压力小(但自主权低)的人寿命更长。他们似乎过得很好,也更健康。研究人员推测,一个原因是较高的自主权允许他们以更健康、更快乐的方式来生活,比如锻炼身体、户外时间或放松,即使工作要求更严格。

(原标题:研究:缺乏自主权的工作会让人短命)

(责任编辑:郑娟_NQ0738)

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