Wellness Checkpoint

August 15, 2008 09:10 ET

Depression & stress have a significant impact on productivity loss

Wellness Checkpoint measures the link between health and productivity

Attention: Business/Financial Editor, Health/Medical Editor, Lifestyle Editor, News Editor WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, MEDIA RELEASE--(Marketwire - Aug. 15, 2008) - Successful employers recognize that their ability to survive is directly related to the productivity of their employees. And that managing employee productivity requires a comprehensive means of measurement. Since 1990, Winnipeg's InfoTech Inc., a Canadian company, has been working with global blue-chip employers to measure, track and correlate a broad range of factors impacting health and productivity.

A study just released by The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM ), investigating predictors of productivity loss, shows that depression, balance of stress and satisfaction, and personal life challenges significantly impact on productivity loss for employees, limiting their ability to meet the normal demands of their job. In fact the study shows that while health related issues play a significant role in employee productivity, non-health related issues, such as personal financial concerns, can be equal or greater in their significance.

This case study is based on benchmark data collected through Wellness Checkpoint, a comprehensive health risk assessment that considers employee health and lifestyle risk factors in the context of their job and their life outside of work. An analyses of data from 17,821 respondents who completed the Wellness Checkpoint health risk assessment and the Work Limitations Questionnaire (WLQ) -- which measures limitations in performing normal job demands against 48 factors covering age, gender, work/life issues, personal health, lifestyle habits and depression -- was compiled.

"The models tested here confirmed that the health of individual employees, and in particular their mental health, is a key contributor to productivity loss," says Harris Allen PhD of Harris Allen Group, LLC. "But, these models also attest to how other factors measured by a comprehensive HRA like the Wellness Checkpoint, contribute to both impaired performance while at work and time away from work. These factors exert their influence on productivity loss that are both independent of health and are considerable in their magnitude above and beyond the contribution of health."

"The result in this study is a wealth of information that can be used for shaping and guiding efforts to reduce productivity loss. This information can help to build the rationale and consensus for taking action," says Harris Allen. "…health is not the only accessible and measurable candidate for intervention efforts.

The study shows that other aspects of employees' experience - their personal lives, their financial concerns, the balance between home and work, not to mention certain characteristics of their job and their company-all help to determine the types and magnitude of productivity loss.

"The models presented in the JOEM article provide an important framework for our clients to consider group data for their employee and business groups in developing strategies for managing disability, return-to-work programs, identifying risk exposures and making informed program decisions that can impact the health of their employees and their organizations," says Zorianna Hyworon, CEO, InfoTech Inc. IN: HEALTH, LABOUR, TECHNOLOGY, OTHER

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