January 22, 2013
Did ‘Blue Monday’ really get you down, or are you happy in your work? If you are engaged with your work, research suggests you’re most likely to have a healthier lifestyle. The findings from Gallup Daily tracking found that engaged employees are deeply involved in and enthusiastic about their work, those not engaged may be satisfied, but are not emotionally connected to their workplaces and are less likely to put in discretionary effort. And employees who are actively disengaged are emotionally disconnected from work and workplace and jeopardise their teams’ performance.
The research shows that how leaders manage their workers can significantly influence their employees’ engagement, which in turn affects a company’s bottom line and workers’ health and wellbeing. Separate Gallup research found that engaged employees were 21% more likely than actively disengaged employees to be involved in wellness programs offered by their company. This finding is consistent across age, BMI groups (normal, overweight, and obese), and among people with or without chronic diseases.
Gallup’s employee engagement index is based on extensive research – carried out in the US, on actionable workplace elements with proven linkages to performance outcomes, including productivity, customer service, quality, retention, safety, and profit. The 12 questions included in the survey are intended to help sort workers into one of three categories: engaged, not engaged, or actively disengaged. Gallup research previously found that employee engagement is positively correlated with better health – and a positive correlation between employee engagement and healthy behaviours holds true after controlling for respondents’ health conditions and key demographics, such as age, gender, race, income, education, and marital status.
Taken together, the data shows the link between being engaged at work and leading a healthy lifestyle. It is not clear though which way the relationship between engagement in the workplace and healthy behaviours goes. It is possible that workers without healthy lifestyles are more prone to illness, which then reduces their chance for being engaged at work, or that those who are actively disengaged are less likely to take part in healthy behaviours, perhaps due to time or a depressed outlook on life.
Regardless, 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 reducing sickness absence and increasing energy and productivity.