Want to avoid injury at work? Gain control over your job

Studies are showing that the amount of control you feel you have over your job plays a big part on whether you get injured at work and also, if you do get injured, how quickly you come back to work.  Researchers in Japan found that low job control significantly increased the risk for occupational injury (Sakurai, K., et al).  Researchers in California found over a 30% higher return to work rate for people who reported high levels of job control (Krause, N., et al)

So how can you improve your job control at work?

Team-based approach – Companies who switch to a team based approach find that feelings of job control improve (Ford Motor Company study).  Approach your supervisor about forming a team or if you have a team, make sure that everyone has an important role.

Telecommuting and/or flexible hours – Workers who telecommute and/or have flex hours report feeling much more in control of their time (Journal of Applied Psychology).  Speak to your supervisor about the possibility of working from home once a week or working hours that are compatible with your schedule.

Environment – Is your lighting poor?  Are you too cold or too hot?  Do you feel uncomfortable at your workstation?  Having control over your environment increases your feeling of job control (Liberty Mutual Institute study). Investigate whether lighting can be improved.  Talk to the facilities staff about being able to control the temperature in your area.  Speak to human resources about having an ergonomics evaluation done to address discomfort areas.

Extra duties – Being able to take on duties that you feel are important will improve your sense of job control.  Speak to your supervisor about your ideas to see if they can be incorporated into your job.

Lifestyle changes – Does your company have a wellness program?  A Dutch company that implemented changes found increased job control among other benefits.  If your company has a wellness program, approach the organizer to see if you can help out.  If your company does not have a program, speak to your supervisor about starting one.  Some ideas include:  starting a weekly exercise or yoga class, approaching the cafeteria about healthier food options, and introducing employee or team challenges for miles walked per week.

There are many ways people can improve their sense of satisfaction at work.  What are some ways you gain job control?