Health risk status and on-the-job productivity strongly linked
To investigate the relationship between employee health risks and both on-the-job productivity and absence from work.
2,264 US-based employees who completed a health risk appraisal and the Work Productivity and Activity Questionnaire and who had access to a variety of company wellness programmes and services.
Between February and September 2001, data from the health risk appraisal were used to calculate a health risk score for each employee, which was then compared with self-reported on-the-job productivity and absence from work.
- As the total number of health risk factors rose, so did the average percentage of time lost related to presenteeism (lost productivity at work) and absenteeism.
- Individuals with no risk factors reported 1.3% and 0% lost time caused by presenteeism and absenteeism, respectively; whereas these figures rose to 25.9% and 6.3% lost time for those with eight health risk factors.
- The risk factors most strongly associated with absence from work were physical inactivity, high stress levels, and diabetes.
- Those factors most strongly associated with presenteeism were poor diet, body mass index outside the normal range, physical inactivity, high stress levels, and lack of emotional fulfillment.
What does this mean?
The difference in productivity between the most and least healthy employees is large, which underlines the potential importance of corporate health promotion programmes.