What does a workplace have to do with a worker’s health? Plenty, as it turns out.Employees with overall wellbeing have 41% lower health-related costs compared with those who are struggling – and 62% lower costs compared with those who are suffering.
Furthermore, people who enjoy overall wellbeing have a 35% lower turnover rate than those who struggle or suffer with poor health. Overall wellbeing relates to illness, which is associated with lower employee productivity and missed work.
So report the authors of the bestseller Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, Tom Rath and Jim Harter. Their study, the result of decades of research into wellbeing, revealed that wellbeing encompasses five distinct, interrelated elements – career, social, financial, physical, and community – and all affect the bottom-line.
In an interview with Gallop Business Journal, Rath says people tend to enter a company for either career or financial wellbeing and that drives much of their behaviour.
While the researcher agrees that all of us should consider career and financial goals, the research suggests we should also consider our physical, social, and community wellbeing when making important life-changing decisions – and anticipate how those elements will affect one’s wellbeing overall.
Rath and Harter’s research found that only 12% of employees report substantially higher overall wellbeing thanks to their workplace culture. “If the relationship between individuals and employers was working correctly, that number would be at least 50%,” says Rath.
Of course, employee engagement plays a part in this, he adds. Currently only 29% of Americans are engaged in their jobs, and only 11% are engaged worldwide. Those 11% who are thriving in their workplace are more than three times as likely as actively disengaged employees to be thriving in their lives overall, according to the research.