Didn’t get that big promotion even though you were the most qualified? Think a co-worker with the same job as yours is making more money? Does the boss always seem to be on your case? It’s enough to keep you up at night, twisting and turning.
It’s called perceived unfairness. And, it can impact your health.
A study by researchers at the University of South Florida and at Pennsylvania State University shows perceived workplace unfairness leads to strain on the home life. And that, in turn, often makes the aggrieved employee ruminate into the wee hours.
That lack of sleep carries a lot more risk than simply being groggy in the morning as you stumble toward that first cup of coffee. Researchers say it can lead to an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease later in life. Good sleep is good health.
The researchers followed nearly 1,000 people for 20 years. The scientists quizzed them about perceived unfairness at work, negative work-to-family spillover and, lastly, insomnia. They were asked the same questions 10 and then 20 years later.
The researchers found that perceived unfairness predicted negative work-to-family spillover, which in turn predicted insomnia over time. They note that unfairness can get under the skin of individuals in a way that might lead to health problems.
It’s in an employer’s best interest to treat workers fairly as it leads to better health and productivity. Of course, the study is talking about perceived unfairness. Sometimes, what we think is unfair is in the eyes of the beholder.
Researchers say employers and workers can both take steps to change office culture. Nothing unfair about that.