Well-Being Trumps Disease in Job Productivity

by Cathy Miller on April 7, 2014

in Health and Wellness

Well-being postHow often do you think about your well-being?

  • What do you picture when you hear the term?
  • Perhaps it’s Pharrell Williams’ version of Happy

Well-being could be a game-changer in workers’ productivity.

More so than the impact of chronic disease.

That was the conclusion of a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Well-Being Index

The study, Comparing the Contributions of Well-Being and Disease Status to Employee Productivity, moves beyond the typical focus on physical health to a broader scope of employee well-being.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index  includes the following five elements into its well-being definition.

Well-Being Infographic-Post

 

Researchers for the study tracked employees from three U.S. companies.

  • A national insurance company
  • A large health care vendor
  • An international manufacturing company

Over 2,600 participants who took part in a Well-Being Assessment qualified for the study. The researchers developed two study groups.

  1. Nondiseased – those who self-reported no chronic disease
  2. Diabetes – individuals with self-reported diabetes

The study reviewed presenteeism (the level of productivity) and the effect of well-being-related barriers.

Well-Being Contribution

Conclusions from the study included the following.

  • Well-being was the most significant predictor of productivity
  • Changes in well-being produced changes in productivity
  • Above and beyond chronic disease or other fixed characteristics

What impact does this have on employers?

Employers sponsoring wellness programs should design programs that address total well-being, not just physical health.

Need convincing?

Financial Concerns

A 2013 MetLife global study on financial wellness alone produced the following.

  • 90% of consumers want to become better at managing finances
  • 58% of U.S. employees wish employers provided access to financial planners
  • 245% growth in retirement plans of individuals who engaged in financial planning (compared to those who did not)

Another 2013 survey by PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) revealed nearly one-quarter (23%) of survey participants admitted their personal finances issues were a distraction at work.

Health and productivity professionals cite these studies and others as proof of the significant contribution well-being has on workplace productivity.

Activities, such as the following, promote total well-being.

  • Financial planning workshops
  • Sponsored community events
  • Support for volunteer activities

In the words of Pharrell Williams ~

“Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth”

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Notice of Disclaimer –Cathy Miller is not an attorney or health care provider and cannot provide legal or health care advice. The information provided is for your general background only, and is not intended to constitute legal or health care advice as to your specific circumstances. We recommend you review legislation with legal counsel and visit your physician for health care issues.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kevin H @ Growing Family Benefits April 8, 2014 at 1:11 pm

58% of employees wish their employers would provide access to financial planners? Either the surveyed group was atypical, or the answers would be far different if they understood that insurance was an important component to any financial plan.

In my experience getting employees away from their desk to meetings to discuss finances is like pulling teeth. The employer has to make it mandatory, or they won’t attend – unless free food is part of the equation.
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Cathy Miller April 8, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Saying and doing are definitely two entirely different animals. However, I do believe if education is combined with tools to make saving easier, you can see improvement in that area. Automated features in retirement plans (like automatic enrollment, escalation, and rebalance & reallocation) have shown that.

Speak in a language they relate to and it might just work. ;-) Thanks for sharing your point of view, Kevin.
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