Employee wellbeing is a vital part of any business strategy, but unfortunately, the current state of wellbeing at work is low. O.C. Tanner recently surveyed 3,600 employees from around the world (United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, India and Singapore) to explore the current state of employee wellbeing and its impact on company culture.
Just over half of employees (52 percent) felt that their organization cared more about productivity and the bottom line than their employees, while 38 percent agreed their situation at work is hurting their ability to be happy in other aspects of their life. Employees don’t feel they are living their best lives, and many are negatively impacted by their work environments. Over a third (36 percent) went so far as to say that their job has a negative effect on their physical health.
According to the data, employees were more likely to report negative effects on their physical health if they worked in customer service, they worked at the executive level or if they identified as a millennial. The study suggests that customer service reps, company executives and millennials experience higher stress levels than other employees, which may lead to an increase in experiencing negative physical health. The link between customer complaints and physical duress inspires the question: In addition to emotional stress, are customer problems actually causing employees physical harm? And if so, is the harm real or psychosomatic? Have younger employees been more conditioned to place blame here?
And it’s not just unhappy employees who are claiming negative physical effects—many of those who are satisfied with their current job and company are claiming they’re victims. So at this point, even if it’s a job that you like, is there now simply an expected level of negative physical effects? Is it unavoidable?
With all the negativity, it’s no wonder that companies are turning to employee wellbeing programs to try and address these issues. Strong wellbeing programs involve more than just counting steps and tracking sleep. Companies who take care of the whole employee, and not just their physical health, will see higher wellbeing in their people and in turn, a positive impact on the bottom line.
Who’s experiencing the negative physical effects?
● More than a third (36 percent) of respondents agreed that their job has a negative effect on their physical wellbeing
○ Among job functions, customer service ranks the highest:
- Customer Service: 40 percent
- Executive/General Administration: 34 percent
- Finance/Purchasing: 35 percent
- Human Resources: 36 percent
- IT: 39 percent
- Marketing: 27 percent
- Operations: 38 percent
- Sales: 36 percent
- Training/Learning: 32 percent
- Other: 34 percent
○ Among job titles, executives rank much higher than every other level of employee:
- Executive (C- -Suite): 50 percent
- Vice President: 34 percent
- Director: 37 percent
- Manager: 38 percent
- Individual Contributor: 35 percent
○ When comparing generations, millennials rank the highest, and the percentages go
- Millennial: 39 percent
- Gen X: 36 percent
- Baby boomers: 32 percent
○ Those who don’t feel they are fairly compensated at work rank higher than those who do:
- Feel they’re fairly compensated at work: 33 percent
- Don’t feel they’re fairly compensated at work: 49 percent
○ Those who don’t feel their basic financial needs are met rank higher than those who do:
- Feel their basic financial needs are met: 35 percent
- Don’t feel their basic financial needs are met: 44 percent
At this point, do employees just expect negative physical effects from their job?
● 82 percent of respondents noted that they’re satisfied overall with their job
○ Of those, 32 percent say their job has a negative effect on their physical health
● 39 percent of respondents noted that they aren’t likely (less than a 50 percent chance) to leave their job if were offered a job at a different company with a similar role, pay, location, and benefits TODAY
○ Of those, over a quarter (27 percent) say their job has a negative effect on their physical health
● 67 percent of respondents noted that they think their organization positively affects the lives of others
○ Of those, 1 in 3 (35 percent) say their job has a negative effect on their physical health
Is a formal wellbeing program the answer?
● Companies with a formal wellbeing program see:
○ A 20 percent increase in employees who see a doctor for a general checkup
○ A 13 percent increase in employees who see a doctor when they are ill
○ A 14 percent increase in employees’ overall feeling of wellbeing
● Employees at companies with formal wellbeing programs feel healthier (78 percent compared to 62 percent of those at companies without a wellbeing program)
ABOUT THE RESEARCH
The O.C. Tanner Institute conducted a quantitative study in October 2017 of 3,600 employees in the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, India and Singapore. The survey targeted adults (age 18+) working full–time at companies with 500+ employees. The survey was sent to panelists selected at random from a sample of 1.2 million individuals through a third–party panel company.
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