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officeBosses, take note! Employees who feel fairly treated at workplace are more likely to be healthy, have an active lifestyle and go the extra mile for their organisation, a new study has found.

Employees experiences of fairness at work can impact their health, according to researchers from University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK.

They studied whether perceptions of what they call ‘procedural justice’, such as the processes in place to decide on rewards, pay, promotion and assignments, are related to employees’ health.

They found that when perceptions of fairness changed, the self-rated health of employees also changed, for example those who experienced more fairness on average over the period studied reported better health.

The finding suggests that fairness at work is a crucial aspect of the psychosocial work environment and that changes towards greater fairness can improve employees’ health, researchers said.

It was also found that changes in employees’ health are related to changes in fairness perceptions, indicating that the health status of employees may also affect how employees feel treated at work.

The study focused on more than 5,800 people working in Sweden. Participants were asked to rate their general state of health on a scale from one to five, one being ‘very good’ and five being ‘very poor’.

They were asked about their perception of fairness by saying to what extent they agreed or disagreed with seven statements relating to their organisation’s decision-making processes.

These included ‘hear the concerns of all those affected by the decision’, ‘provide opportunities to appeal or challenge the decision’ and ‘all sides affected by the decision are represented’.

“Our study provides a thorough examination of how fairness at the workplace and health of employees is related over time,” said Constanze Eib from UEA.

“The findings can help raise awareness among employers and authorities that fairness at work but also health is important to consider to increase satisfaction, well-being and productivity in the workplace and wider society,” said Eib.

“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,” she added.

The findings were published in the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health.