Human Health

An Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG) survey highlighted burnout and fatigue affecting 43% 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 recording CHROs responses observed 51% of their respondents as having either anxiety or burnout, and see this as a huge challenge. This further highlights how significant the employee health crisis is.

“Around 6 in 10 US adults have one chronic disease,” notes Ausrine Cebatore, VP of Sales and Strategic Partnerships at Kilo Health. “4 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 1 in 5 employees. This has directly resulted in a decline in productivity which has cost businesses heavily. This report has also highlighted that almost 60% of employees recorded new musculoskeletal pain. Extended hours spent sitting at a desk working was a prime reason behind this. Only 18% 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% of Americans experiencing stress due to the economic situation and their work. Parents were noted to have higher levels of stress among these cohorts. “We spend an endless number of hours a day working,” highlights Cebatore. “This has left us with very few hours to balance our lives with our work. This is why we are waking up to a time of 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% of full-time US employees have one basic health need unmet. This resulted in them missing approximately 5 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 package. 


How can companies invest in employee health?

When companies overlook their employee health, it’s not only employees that 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 dollars in output by 2030. A notable concern for many of the employees is the limited and unusable health benefits present in their workplaces. A Pew Research Center survey recorded that 43% 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 times of the pandemic has been the need to have more flexible work times. Many employees think that commuting takes up a lot of their time, which could have been used to invest in their health. 

Management of finances also helped reduce employee stress. Around half, 51% of employees, rated their financial benefits as good in the latest Bank of America’s Workplace Benefits Report. This report also noted that 46% 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 then 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. This means that 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% 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% of Americans know the basics of taking care of their physical health,” Ausrine Cebatore concludes. “This essentially means that the right tools are required to facilitate employee health and encourage a more holistic employee experience.”