Decreased on-the-job productivity represents a large yet poorly characterized indirect cost to employers. We studied the impact of employee health risk factors on self-reported worker productivity (presenteeism).
Using a brief version of the Work Limitation Questionnaire incorporated into a Health Risk Appraisal, 28,375 employees of a national company responded to the survey. The association between health risks and work limitation and each of the four domains was examined. Percentage of lost productivity also was estimated.
Ten of 12 health risk factors studied were significantly associated with self-reported work limitations. The strength of the associations varied between risks and the four domains of work limitation. Perception-related risk factors such as life dissatisfaction, job dissatisfaction, poor health, and stress showed the greatest association with presenteeism. As the number of self-reported health risk factors increased, so did the percentage of employees reporting work limitations. Each additional risk factor was associated with 2.4% excess productivity reduction. Medium and high-risk individuals were 6.2% and 12.2% less productive than low-risk individuals, respectively. The annual cost of lost productivity in this corporation was estimated at between $99M and $185M or between $1392 and $2592 per employee.
Health risk factors represent additional causes of lost productivity.