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Perceived fairness at work affects employee health

Perceived fairness at work affects employee health

Employees’ individual experience of fairness at work can have an impact on their health, according to a new study conducted in conjunction with the University of East Anglia.

The research, done in partnership with Stockholm University, looked at whether perceptions of ‘procedural justice’, such as processes for rewards, pay, promotion and assignments, are related to employees’ health.

They found that when an employee’s idea of fairness changed, their self-rated health also shifted. For instance, those who experienced greater fairness reported better all-round health. Conversely, changes in health also had an effect on workers’ perception of fairness, indicating that physical health affects how an employee feels they are treated at work.

The study of 5,800 people working in Sweden used data collected between 2008 and 2014. Participants were asked to rate their overall health, as well as their perception of fairness at their jobs based on seven statements relating to their company’s decision-making processes.

Study leader Dr Constanze Eib says: “The findings can help raise awareness among employers and authorities that fairness at work and health is important to consider to increase satisfaction, wellbeing and productivity in the workplace and wider society.

“People who feel fairly treated are not only more likely to be motivated at work and go the extra mile for their organisation, but they are also more likely to be healthy, have an active lifestyle and feel positive.

“It is important to know about these issues, as there may be things that can be done to improve perceptions of fairness at work. For example, making sure people feel their views are considered, they are consulted about changes and that decisions are made in an unbiased way.”

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