In today’s hustling world, employers and employees must promote and adopt healthy behaviors at work and in their personal lives. Many studies have proven that healthy employees are more engaged, more productive, have lower absenteeism, and have fewer turnover rates. And so, in the past few years, employers have focused on improving the workplace culture and employee wellbeing. Promoting healthy lifestyle habits, reducing work stress, and having a better work-life balance has been focused primarily.
According to a 2021 survey, almost 79% of employees agreed that their company wellness programs helped them improve their productivity, and 79% believed these programs helped them improve their health and wellbeing, reducing sick times.
Another recent Statista report put forth the outcomes and statistics of workplace health and wellbeing in the United States.
Here is a brief of the study outcomes.
Workplace Health and Wellness Study Outcomes
The key workplace health and wellness areas focused in this study included –
- Occupational Injury and Death
- Health-related Absenteeism
- Workplace Health Benefits
Occupational Injury and Death
As expected, work-related injuries and deaths were common in fields that required strenuous physical activity and included heavy machinery. As per the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries 2019 report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019 alone, around 5,333 deaths were recorded due to occupational injuries in the United States. These injuries and deaths mainly occurred in individuals in the age group of 55 – 64 years. The highest number of fatalities (145 – rate per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers) was recorded in fishers and fishery-related works, while the least deaths (19.8 – rate per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers) were recorded in grounds maintenance workers. Also, non-fatal occupational injuries were common with heavy machinery operators, athletes, and police officers. Almost 26 illnesses and injuries were recorded per 100 sportspersons or athletes in 2019.
Of the top 10 causes of the most disabling U.S. workplace injuries in 2021, overexertion involving outside sources was the highest (22.7%), and repetitive motions involving micro-tasks were the lowest (2.8%). Falls on the same level at 18% and falls on lower level at 10.7% ranked next. A study report by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety revealed that the direct costs for such injuries costed around 10.58 billion U.S. dollars in 2020.
Occupational health and safety have been emphasized by many companies. There are many reasons why occupational health and safety must be a part of workplace wellness programs, and it is high time employers start adopting them.
Although individuals who did not work in fields involving high danger were more to sickness, not many of them had taken sick leaves. Statista conducted a global survey in 2020 – 2021 with around 25,000 – 34,000 respondents of the 18-64 years age group in the United States. The survey showed that almost one-third of adults in the United States did not take any sick leaves at work or educational institutions in the past year. Of the few who took sick leaves, it was only for 2 – 3 days. Only around 4% of the respondents took leaves of more than 20 days in the year due to health reasons. The sick leaves did not change much from pre-COVID times in 2020 until June 2021. Due to the seasonal health-related issues, workplace absenteeism was high during July – August 2020, compared to the previous years. Another reason for absenteeism from work was due to work-related stress and burnout, impacting productivity. Another CDC report showed that health-related absenteeism rates increased in 2020 during the months of July, August, November, and December, and in April 2021.
Workplace Health Benefits
Workplace health benefits were a key area focused in the study to understand its impact on employee wellbeing over the years. The outcomes from different studies were put together to understand this trend.
A Davis Research survey published by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed the percentage of firms in the United States that offered select health and wellness programs in 2021. The study was conducted on 1,686 non-federal public and private companies, categorized based on the firm size. According to this study, almost 94% of firms with 5000 or more employees topped the charts of offering at least one type of health and wellness program. Among all big firms (200 or more employees), 83% offered such workplace wellness programs. On the other hand, all small firms (3 – 199 workers) offered at least one of the select workplace wellness programs through behavioral coaching, improving lifestyle habits, and likewise. Around 633 companies were estimated to provide corporate wellness services in 2021.
Around 1,765 respondents from small firms with 3 – 199 workers in the United States were asked the reason for not offering workplace health benefits, and their outcomes were a mixed bag. Almost 30% of the respondents said that the key reason for not offering health benefits at the workplace was the expensive healthcare costs. According to a study, the total annual employer-sponsored healthcare cost per employee was estimated to be around 13,728 USD. While 20% said their firm was too small to offer workplace health benefits, another 20% said their employees had a better deal with the health insurance exchanges.
While employee health and wellness needs keep changing with time, it is important for employers to tag with the evolving trends. And that is why the workplace wellness programs, like those from Wellness360, must be flexible and scalable enough to accommodate new changes in line with the evolving trends.