Poor Eating Habits, Lack of Exercise Impact Employee Productivity

We all know that eating poorly and skipping out on regular exercising puts on the pounds and can cause significant health issues, but new research conducted at Brigham Young University, the Center for Health Research at Healthways and the Health Enhancement Research Organization, also suggests that these bad habits can affect how productive we are at work. In fact, unhealthy eating is linked with a 66% increased risk of loss of productivity while lack of exercise is associated with a 50% increase risk of low productivity.

Findings related to physical health and healthy behaviors also revealed that employees who had difficulty exercising during the day were 96% more likely to have increased productivity loss. Those employees who rarely eat fruits, vegetables and other low-fat foods at work were 93% more likely to have a higher loss in productivity. In addition, those who did not believe their work environment would support them in becoming physically and emotionally healthier were more likely to have a drop in productivity levels.

The cross-sectional study included 19,803 people who worked at one of three large companies, with researchers finding that people between ages 30 and 39 were the most likely to experience a loss in productivity, while people ages 60 and older were the least likely to experience a loss in productivity.

According to one of the study’s researchers, Ray Merrill, a health science professor at Brigham Young University, “Total health-related employee productivity loss accounts for 77% of all such loss and costs employers two to three times more than annual healthcare expenses.”

In addition, BusinessNewsDaily reported that certain industries are more likely to be affected by loss of productivity. The most affected were people who worked in service or transportation, while the least affected were people who worked in fishing, construction, farming and mining.

Companies Taking Proactive Stance to Help Productivity

Wellness programs at companies are designed to encourage and support employees in their efforts towards a healthier living with nutritional and exercise programs. Return to Work Programs are also designed to get employees back on the job as soon as possible should an on-the-job injury or accident occur. With a Return to Work Program in place, employees can see savings in their Workers Comp costs by getting workers back on the job in addition to reducing the loss of workplace productivity. They also don’t have to replace a worker temporarily while he or she is out. For an employee, getting back on the job gets them feeling healthier because they are being productive.

At Caitlin-Morgan, we help you with your clients’ Workers Comp programs in addition to assisting with Return to Work Programs. Just give us a call at 877.226.1027.