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An Investigation of Self-reported Health-related Productivity Loss in Office Workers and Associations With Individual and Work-related Factors Using an Employer's Perspective

Pereira, Michelle Jessica MPhty (Sports Physiotherapy); Johnston, Venerina PhD; Straker, Leon Melville PhD; Sjøgaard, Gisela PhD; Melloh, Markus MD, PhD; O’Leary, Shaun Patrick PhD; Comans, Tracy Anne PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: July 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 7 - p e138–e144
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001043

Objective: Office workers have a high prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions. This can be a significant economic burden due to health-related productivity loss. Individual and work-related factors related to office worker health-related productivity were investigated.

Methods: A survey including the Health and Work Performance Questionnaire, which estimated productivity loss, also recorded individual and work-related factors with potential associations with health-related productivity. Muscle function and workstation ergonomics were examined through physical assessments. Linear models investigated the relationships between these factors and health-related productivity.

Results: Significant factors identified were occupational category (0.001 < P < 0.050), job satisfaction (P < 0.001), psychological wellbeing (P = 0.031), and musculoskeletal pain (P = 0.023). Health-related productivity loss was greater in office workers working as managers, with lower job satisfaction and psychological wellbeing, and those with musculoskeletal pain.

Conclusion: Office worker health-related productivity loss is represented by a combination of both individual and work-related factors.

Health Services and Outcomes Research, National Healthcare Group, Singapore (Ms Pereira), Physiotherapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia (Ms Pereira, Drs Johnston, O’Leary), School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia (Dr Straker), Department of Sport Sciences and Clinical Biomechanics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark (Dr Sjøgaard), Centre for Medical Research, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia (Dr Melloh), Curtin Medical School, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia (Dr Melloh), Institute of Health Sciences, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Winterthur, Switzerland (Dr Melloh), Department of Physiotherapy, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia (Dr O’Leary), Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Meadowbrook, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia (Dr Comans), and Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Herston, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia (Dr Comans).

Address correspondence to: Michelle Jessica Pereira, MPhty (Sports Physiotherapy), Health Services and Outcomes Research, National Healthcare Group, Singapore 138543, Singapore (

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia under Grant #12609000051246 supported this work. Ms Pereira is supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award and Professor Straker is supported by a NHMRC senior research fellowship (#1019980).

MJP, VJ, TAC formulated the research question and outlined the research design. MJP analyzed the data, reviewed the existing literature, and drafted the manuscript. VJ, LMS, GS, MM, SPO, and TAC critically reviewed and revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine