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Disturbing Statistics Reveal Decline in Workplace Health

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An Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG) survey highlighted burnout and fatigue affecting 43 percent of employees equally within remote or on-site locations. Employee health and the rising burnout rates are among the primary challenges faced by employers today. 

Similarly, a PwC’s Pulse survey observed 51 percent of their respondents as having either anxiety or burnout, and see this as a huge challenge. This further highlights the significance of the employee health crisis.

“Around  six in 10 U.S. adults have one chronic disease,” says Ausrine Cebatore, vice president of sales and strategic partnerships at Kilo Health. “Four in 10 have two chronic ailments. Employers are trying to change these statistics, but with limited success.”

So, what are the primary health concerns workers today experience? Understanding this is the key facet that can enable companies to invest better in their employee health.

How is workplace health declining?

Ischemic heart disease and stroke are among the leading causes of workplace deaths, as recorded by the World Health Organization. Ergonomic inefficiencies, long working hours, and noise are recorded as possible reasons for this.

A Workplace Health Report conducted by Champion Health noted poor mental health affected one in five employees. This has directly resulted in a decline in productivity, which has cost businesses heavily.

The report also highlighted that nearly 60 percent of employees recorded new musculoskeletal pain. Extended hours spent sitting at a desk working was a prime reason for this. Only 18 percent said they took regular breaks every 30 minutes. The pandemic has only worsened most of these statistics. 

A 2020 American Psychological Association survey recorded almost 70 percent of Americans experiencing stress due to the economic situation and their work. Parents were noted to have even higher levels of stress.

“We spend an endless number of hours a day working,” says Cebatore. “This has left us with very few hours to balance our lives with our work. This is why we are waking up to the Great Resignation and quiet quitting.”

Workplaces often address health needs only through simple awareness campaigns, not through proactive methods employees require. Additionally, many employees have felt that their diverse concerns may not be heard, resulting in unusable health benefits.

For instance, a McKinsey survey reported that 65 percent of full-time U.S. employees have one basic health need unmet. This resulted in them missing approximately five days of work per year for this. These rates were higher among employees of color and LGBTQ+ employees. 

The concerns relating to employee health are diverse. This means that companies need to start listening to their employees when tailoring their benefits packages. 

How can companies invest in employee health?

When companies overlook their employees’ health, it’s not only employees who suffer. Employers also see high losses in terms of output. Health-related absenteeism can cost companies heavily in terms of productivity. Mental health issues alone are expected to cost businesses $16 trillion  in output by 2030.  

A notable concern for many employees is the limited and unusable health benefits present in their workplaces. A Pew Research Center survey recorded that 43 percent of their respondents have left their jobs, citing limited benefits such as health insurance and paid time off. Companies often make the mistake of placing a one-size-fits-all health benefits package when employees sign their contracts. Unfortunately, a lot of these cannot be used or are not inclusive. 

For instance, employees who are disabled might require more accessibility to workplaces and more flexibility with their health insurance. Similarly, parents would need coverage for their families. Additionally, a big ask following the pandemic has been the need to have more flexible work times. Many employees think commuting takes up a lot of their time, which could be used to invest in their health. 

Management of finances have helped reduce employee stress. Around half, 51 percent of employees, rated their financial benefits as good in the latest Bank of America’s Workplace Benefits Report. This report also noted that 46 percent of employees recorded financial wellness as a key component of overall wellness.

Increasing wellness budgets to cover a wider range of health benefits is crucial. Companies that do record lower losses in their yearly financial turnouts.

Future of workplace health

The global corporate wellness market is expected to reach $66.20 billion in value by 2027, as observed by Allied Market Research. As such, new tools are being developed to improve employee health and increase economic turnover. 

Telemedicine and smart devices are some tools that will see an increase in their use within the workplace. Tailored nutrition plans, access to counselors, workout classes, and health monitoring are simple, intuitive tools employees can use to manage their health.

Understanding that time off or time spent to nurture other aspects of one’s individuality helps increase workplace productivity. 91 percent of employees in a study conducted by the American Psychological Society found themselves wanting to do their best within companies that invested in their wellness. 

“Kilo Health’s survey showcased that 87 percent of Americans know the basics of taking care of their physical health,” says Cebatore. “This essentially means that the right tools are required to facilitate employee health and encourage a more holistic employee experience.”

About The Author
julieKeller_author-1

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures, ForbesTraveler.com, E! Online, Gayot.com, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.