Published in Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Authors: Shi Y, Sears, LE, Coberley, C, and Pope, JE

Objective: To examine the longitudinal relationship between modifiable well-being risks and productivity.

Methods: A total of 19,121 employees from five employers participated in baseline and follow-up well-being assessment surveys. Multivariate regressions assessed whether changes in absenteeism, presenteeism, and job performance were associated with changes in 19 modifiable well-being risks.

Results: Over time, a 5% reduction in total count of well-being risks was significantly associated with 0.74% decrease in absenteeism, 2.38% decrease in presenteeism, and 0.24% increase in performance. High blood pressure, recurring pain, unhealthy diet, inadequate exercise, poor emotional health, poor supervisor relationship, not utilizing strengths doing job, and organization unsupportive of well-being had greater independent contributions in explaining productivity impairment.

Conclusions: The often-ignored well-being risks such as work-related and financial health risks provided incremental explanation of longitudinal productivity variations beyond traditional measures of health-related risks.

Key Takeaways:

  • This study provides the first strong evidence of the association between productivity and a comprehensive list of well-being risks. The fewer well-being risks an employee has, the higher his or her productivity is likely to be.
  • Above and beyond traditional measures of health-related risk, often ignored modifiable well-being risks such as work-related and financial health risks add to the prediction of differences in employee productivity over time.
  • The results indicate that the productivity measures can be improved over time and that workplace programs should be multidimensional — addressing employee well-being comprehensively — to create the greatest impact on employee productivity.