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Employee Self-rated Productivity and Objective Organizational Production Levels: Effects of Worksite Health Interventions Involving Reduced Work Hours and Physical Exercise

von Thiele Schwarz, Ulrica PhD; Hasson, Henna PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: August 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue 8 - p 838–844
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31822589c2
ORIGINAL ARTICLES: CME for this Article Available at

Objective: To investigate how worksite health interventions involving a 2.5-hour reduction of weekly working hours with (PE) or without (RWH) mandatory physical exercise affects productivity.

Methods: Six workplaces in dental health care were matched and randomized to three conditions (PE, RWH and referents). Employees' (N = 177) self-rated productivity and the workplaces' production levels (number of patients) were examined longitudinally.

Results: Number of treated patients increased in all conditions during the intervention year. While RWH showed the largest increase in this measure, PE showed significant increases in self-rated productivity, that is, increased quantity of work and work-ability and decreased sickness absence.

Conclusions: A reduction in work hours may be used for health promotion activities with sustained or improved production levels, suggesting an increased productivity since the same, or higher, production level can be achieved with lesser resources.

From the Department of Psychology (Dr Schwarz), Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden; Medical Management Center (Drs Schwarz and Hasson), Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Karolinska Institute Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden; and Department of Business Administration (Dr Hasson), Lund University School of Economics and Management, Lund, Sweden; and Vårdalinstitutet, The Swedish Institute for Health Sciences (Dr Hasson), Lund, Sweden.

Ulrica von Thiele Schwarz has no financial interests related to this research.

The JOEM Editorial Board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Address correspondence to: Ulrica von Thiele Schwarz, PhD, Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden (

Copyright © 2011 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine