Lifelong friends: Supportive co-workers helped to increase life expectancy, the study found
Getting along with your fellow workers can significantly increase your lifespan, according to a new university report.
A 20-year study found that people who reported having low social support at work were 2.4 times more likely to die during that time as those with supportive co-workers.
The study followed the health records of 820 working adults aged 25 to 65 who worked an average of 8.8 hours a day. Participants were drawn from a range of backgrounds to account for various psychological, behavioural or physiological risk factors, such as smoking, obesity and depression.
A mixture of professional fields were also chosen, including finance, health care and manufacturing.
Participants were asked about their relationships with their supervisors, and their peer relationships at work, such as whether their peers were friendly and approachable.
Of the participants who died during the course of the study, most had negligible social connections with their co-workers.
A lack of emotional support at work led to a 140 per cent increased risk of dying in the next twenty years compared to those who reported supportive co-workers.
Dr Sharon Toker of the Department of Organizational Behavior at Tel Aviv University’s Leon Recanati Graduate School of Business Administration who led the study, said: ‘We spend most of our waking hours at work, and we don’t have much time to meet our friends during the weekdays.
‘Work should be a place where people can get necessary emotional support.’
She added that the study suggests the perception of emotional support was the strongest indicator of future health.
While building a supportive environment for employees may seem intuitive, Dr Toker says that many workplaces have lost their way.
Despite open concept offices, many people use email rather than face-to-face communication, and social networking sites that may provide significant social connection are often blocked.
To make an office friendlier to health, she suggests coffee corners where people can congregate to sit and talk, informal social outings for staff members and an internal virtual social network similar to Facebook.
A peer-assistance program where employees can confidentially discuss stresses and personal problems that may affect their position at work may also help, she says.


Editorial Message 
This site contains materials from other clearly stated media sources for the purpose of discussion stimulation and content enrichment among our members only. does not necessarily endorse their views or the accuracy of their content. For copyright infringement issues please contact