Connecting Workplace Stress with Reduced Wellness Engagement

Wondering about the connection among workplace stress and sedentary jobs with engagement in workplace wellness plans? Two unrelated UK studies seem to carry a connected message.

Workplace Insights notes that “stress and sedentary working remain the UK’s greatest productivity drains.” The piece states that “The effects of stress and sedentary lifestyles mean that the average UK worker loses nearly 24 days of productivity each year, according to a major new report. The study, part of an initiative called Britain’s Healthiest Workplace.”

Amazingly, the study “surveyed 32,538 workers and claims that these two factors alone account for an average of 23.5 days of lost productivity each year.”

With such a high amount of lost productivity, one might expect strong encouragement for workplace wellness programs. However, another Workplace Insights piece indicates much room for improvement:

“Although the vast majority of employers (89 percent) say that the wellbeing of employees is important to them, participation in corporate mandated health programmes remains ‘low’ with only 38 percent of employees worldwide participating in any wellbeing activity or health-related management programmes in the last year, according to research from insurers Willis Towers Watson.”

The piece continues: “The research claims that the top five health related issues of most concern in Europe are stress (74 percent), sedentary lifestyles (45 percent), presenteeism (33 percent), obesity (32 percent) and nutrition (31 percent). In response to these issues, organisations have initiated a range of programmes, the most common of which are onsite vaccinations (62 percent), diet and exercise (61 percent), health risk assessments (58 percent) and biometric screening (53 percent).”

Said Rebekah Haymes, Senior Consultant at Willis Towers Watson: “Lifestyle health risks, can have a profound and lasting negative effect on both individual and organisational performance. Employers who understand the risks of their own employee population are likely to have greater success forging a holistic health and productivity strategy, than employers who take a scattershot approach offering individual, disconnected programs.”