Workplace health programs can increase productivity
In general, healthier employees are more productive.
- Healthier employees are less likely to call in sick or use vacation time due to illness
- Companies that support workplace health have a greater percentage of employees at work every day
- Because employee health frequently carries over into better health behavior that impact both the employee and their family (such as nutritious meals cooked at home or increased physical activity with the family), employees may miss less work caring for ill family members as well
- Similarly, workplace health programs can reduce presenteeism — the measurable extent to which health symptoms, conditions, and diseases adversely affect the work productivity of individuals who choose to remain at work
The cost savings of providing a workplace health program can be measured against absenteeism among employees, reduced overtime to cover absent employees, and costs to train replacement employees.
Example – Employee Health Concern: Obesity
- Obese employees experience higher levels of absenteeism due to illness than normal weight employees35
- Normal-weight men miss an average of 3.0 days each year due to illness or injury
- In comparison, overweight and obese men (BMI 25-35), miss approximately 2 more work days per year than normal-weight men, a 56% increase in missed days
- Normal-weight women miss an average of 3.4 days each year due to illness or injury
- In comparison, overweight women miss 3.9 days, a 15% increase in missed days; obese women (BMI greater than 30) miss 5.2 days, a 53% increase in missed days; and women with a BMI of 40 or higher miss 8.2 days, a 141% increase in missed days, almost one week more of missed work each year than normal-weight women36
1. Partnership for Prevention. Leading by Example: CEOs on the business case for worksite health promotion. Washington, DC: 2005.
2. Stewart WF, Ricci JA, Chee E, Morganstein D. Lost productive work time costs from health conditions in the United States: results from the American productivity audit. J Occup Environ Med. 2003;45(12):1234-1246.
3. Finkelstein EA, Brown DS. Why does the private sector underinvest in obesity prevention and treatment? NC Med J. 2006;67(4): 310-312.
4. Tucker LA, Friedman GM. Financial analysis: obesity and absenteeism: an epidemiologic study of 10,825 employed adults. Am J Health Promot. 1998;12 (3): 202–207.
5. Finkelstein EA, Fiebelkorn IC, Wang G. The costs of obesity among full-time employees. Am J Health Promot. 2005; 20(1): 45-51.
- Page last reviewed: December 4, 2015
- Page last updated: December 4, 2015
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