Health and Organisational Productivity

high angle view of a team of asian and caucasian corporate executives discussing business in meeting room.

With the link between employee health and productivity becoming more widely-recognized, health and wellness is now consider as a critical business performance strategy.

Over  the  last  decades,  accelerating  technological  changes  and  new  forms  of  workplace  organisation  have  led to workers assuming increased responsibilities and more autonomy than ever before (Appelbaum et al., 2000).  Although  this  has  increased  overall  productivity,  flexible  modern  working  practices  have  also  increased  daily  job  demands,  requiring  employees  to  multi-task  and  leading  to  increased  levels  of  workplace  stress  and  unrealistic  time  pressures  (Bevan,  2012).  These  developments  have  not  only  led  to  increasing  levels  of  sickness  absence  but  also  to  the  emergence  of  a  phenomenon  called  ‘presenteeism’,  when  employees  attend  work  while  in  sub-optimal  health.

Malaysia’s Healthiest Workplace by AIA Vitality 2018 survey findings reveal that absence and presenteeism continue to affect organisation’s bottom line.

The Malaysia’s Healthiest Workplace survey is an independent survey commissioned by AIA and delivered in partnership with research agency RAND Europe, and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia as the study’s local academic advisor.

117 organisations of different sizes and sectors participated in the survey, representing a combined workforce of 11,551 employees.

The finding shows that organisations lose a total of 73.1 days per employee due to absence and presenteeism, costing each employer RM2.27 million per year.

Mental health issues are on the rise with 50.2% of employees having at least one dimension of work-related stress.

Other key findings for Malaysia’s Healthiest Workplace by AIA Vitality 2018 survey are:

  • 45.9% of employees are at risk with their physical activities falling below 150 minutes per week.
  • 16.6% of employees are obese.
  • 85% of employees are reported to have one or more musculoskeletal conditions.
  • 91.7% of employees surveyed do not have a balanced diet.
  • 54.4% of Malaysians get less than seven (7) hours of sleep per night, whereas 11% said that they have poor sleep followed by 2% having very poor sleep.
  • 32% of employees are reported to have one or more chronic diseases (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, or stroke).
  • 56% of employees feel that their line managers care about their health and wellbeing.
  • 90% of employers/organisations offer at least one intervention – only 13% of employees are aware of any intervention offered by their employers and for those who are aware, 59% participate in at least one intervention.

Indeed, wellness programs, independent of efficacy, have been shown to increase job satisfaction (Zoller2004) and raise perceptions of organizational commitment towards employees (Parks andSteelman2008). Both job satisfaction and perceived organizational support have been positively associated with job performance (Armeliet al.1998; Yee et al. 2008).

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