Engaged employees are healthier employees, according to a recent Gallup study.
The study of US workers found employees actively engaged in their work and workplace tend to lead healthier lifestyles. They exercise more often and eat more fruits and vegetables. They’re also more likely to report happiness and interest in their daily lives.
This corroborates a 2011 Gallup study which found that disengaged employees are far less likely to rate their health as “excellent”. Those employees are also more likely to report “unhealthy days”, are more likely to be obese and to suffer from chronic disease. (see Actively Disengaged Workers and Jobless in Equally Poor Health).
Of course, the types of people who become engaged employees are more likely to have an optimistic and proactive approach to their life. And their health!
The study indicates that workers without healthy lifestyles are more prone to illness. This then reduces their chance for being engaged at work. Those employees who are actively disengaged are less likely to take part in healthy behaviors.
Gallup uses the following definitions for engaged and disengaged workers:
- Engaged. Employees involved in and enthusiastic about their work.
- Not engaged. Employees satisfied with their work but are not emotionally connected to their workplaces. These employees are less likely to put in discretionary effort.
- Actively disengaged. Employees emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace. Actively disengaged workers may jeopardize the performance of their teams.
Engaged workers immune to stressful commutes
The implications of these findings stretch beyond general health, and also seem to impact on overall stress levels.
A followup study showed that disengaged employees were more stressed from long commutes than their engaged colleagues.
The percentage of actively disengaged workers who report a lot of stress and worry in their lives increases with the length of the commute, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. From 15.5% for those with short commutes to 27.1% for those with long commutes.
The worry and stress levels of workers who were engaged at work, showed little difference, despite the length of commute.
In other words, employees who have long daily commutes are likely to fare better emotionally if they are traveling to and from an engaging workplace.
(Interestingly, in this US study, a “long commute” was considered to be 45 minutes or more. In Australian terms, we’d find this rather short!)
Gallup researchers say, “since engaged employees are more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle, workplaces that actively improve engagement may end up seeing an added benefit of better employee health. The potential benefits of which include … increasing energy and productivity in the near future.”
Healthworks helps you create a healthier, more productive workforce through innovative health and wellness solutions. Call us on 1300 90 10 90 or contact us.