New data shows that high stress and lack of physical activity are causing workers in some sectors to lose nearly 27 days a year in lost productivity – but not in the tech industry.
Research from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace (BHW), surveying more than 32,538 workers across all UK industries, revealed that workers in the technology sector are the least stressed and least inactive in the UK, losing 18.9 days of productive time a year on average.
The study, which was conducted by VitalityHealth, Mercer, the University of Cambridge and RAND Europe, found that productivity varies enormously between industries, with the healthcare industry losing almost 27 days of productive time per employee per year, compared to a national average of 23.5 days.
Comparably, the financial services industry loses the second most time, at 24.9 days lost per employee a year.
Physical activity levels in financial services are in line with the national average, but in healthcare fall below the average of 64.4 per cent, with just 62.2 per cent of workers falling into the healthy range. Transportation, shipping and logistics – the worst industry for stress and lack of physical activity and the third least productive industry – also highlight the correlation between these two factors and productivity output.
The technology industry, on the other hand, scores highest in the productivity stakes, losing just 19 days per employee per year.
Tech employees are the most physically active, too, with 71.5 per cent of employees in the healthy range, and the least stressed.
The overall financial implications of productivity loss are huge, with the UK losing £57 billion a year on average in lost productivity.
Work-related stress plays a significant role in the productivity losses incurred, with 73 per cent of employees nationally suffering from at least one dimension of work-related stress.
Those industries with higher productivity losses typically have higher levels of work-related stress.
Chris Bailey, Partner at Mercer, commented: “Modern working practices and the make-up of roles within the UK’s workforce has impacted on the health of individuals significantly. Technology has allowed a more sedentary working life to become the norm whilst the rise of the UK’s service economy has reduced the number of manual workers and physical activity.
"But individual employers can, and do, act to buck these trends and create competitive advantage within their peer group by doing so. It’s no surprise that new tech firms without legacy working practices have lower levels of stress, and lower lost productivity, whilst more established industries sometimes struggle to implement change and create a healthy working environment.”
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