Here’s a sad number: 100,000.
That’s the number of hours you will probably work in the course of your life.
And that’s if you’re like most people and get your first job at 16 and are lucky enough to retire at 65. That’s also assuming you only have one job and work only eight hours a day—all of which is becoming more and more rare. And yes, that number takes into account your weekends and two weeks of vacation time a year.
Since you end up working about a third of your life away—and even more preparing for and getting to work—your workplace clearly is important to your overall health.
New evidence from a study published in Health Psychology shows that people with a poor social support network at work were about 2.5 times more likely to die over a 20-year time.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University found that people who get along with coworkers and though of their officemates as “emotionally supportive” tended to live longer. Of the 820 working adults in the study, the 53 patients that died didn’t die as a result of poor work support; however, it was a common factor among them.
The researchers found that support at work was most important to people ages 38 to 43; those younger and older weren’t as affected. So, basically the cocky young kid and the guy whose been doing the same job for decades need less guidance and support. Well, maybe the young kid thinks he doesn’t need the help.
But the majority of the workforce does need some kind of social and emotional element at work. Work can be stressful, so if there’s someone at the office you can confide in, find reassurance, or even make you laugh, they’re helping you live longer. Make sure to repay the favor.
With all that time dedicated to work, it’s important to keep your sanity. Co-workers can help you do that and you can help them, too.
Here at Healthline, we’re all about being friendly to one another. We’ll take every opportunity to celebrate a co-worker’s marriage, new child, or acceptance to med school. We’ll get together to play paintball on the weekends, go on long bike rides together, or check out a Giant’s game.
So make sure your co-workers are all doing okay. Ask them about their weekend. Ask them out to lunch. Grab a drink after work. Get to know the person sitting next to you.
To be a good friend and co-worker, you don’t have to spend any extra time outside of the office. Helping one another can be as simple as listening to one another’s problems when you’re having a bad day or celebrating little things, like a job well done.
The more you can take care of your co-workers emotional and social wellbeing, the greater chance you have of saving each others’ lives.