2018 RESULTS

2018 WINNERS

HEALTHIEST WORKPLACE

HEALTHIEST EMPLOYEES

HEALTHIEST EMPLOYER

MOST IMPROVED WORKPLACE

FINDINGS

As a comprehensive survey of employees’ health, The Healthiest Workplace Survey 2018 by AIA Vitality provides employers in Australia with an essential overview of their employees’ wellbeing. By creating an awareness of the importance of workplace health and wellbeing, the report gives employers a greater understanding of the efficacy of their companies’ health interventions in the workplace.

STRESS

Work-related stress continues to be a concern but financial worries are comparatively fewer among Australians than their counterparts in other markets.

HEALTH CONDITIONS

Australians are generally fitter with healthier diets but continue to drink more alcohol than employees in other countries.

PRODUCTIVITY

More than a quarter of employees surveyed did not get the recommended seven hours sleep a night.

SLEEP

More than a quarter of employees surveyed did not get the recommended seven hours sleep a night.

FULL REPORT

KEY FINDINGS

In total, 36 Australian organisations representing a combined workforce of 2,910 employees took part in the 2018 survey. Australians are the fittest group among the markets surveyed and their diets are relatively healthier than their Asian counterparts. However, while smoking levels are about equal across the board, Australians continue to drink more alcohol than employees in Asia. Work-related stress is an issue for all employees in the survey but fewer Australian appear to have financial concerns overall. Days lost to absenteeism and presenteeism are up on last year but remain lower than the average across the region.

AUSSIES ARE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE BUT HEALTHY DIETS ARE STILL LACKING

Sleep quality is essential for optimum work performance. Of the Australian surveyed, 27% reported getting less than seven hours sleep in a 24-hour period, compared to 50.1% in other countries, while 16% indicated that they had poor or very poor sleep in the week before the study.

ALCOHOL REMAINS A HEALTH CONCERN

Of those surveyed, 51% were deemed to be overweight or obese according to the BMI Index. However, 82% had a waist circumference within the healthy range, which brought the percentage of employees in Australia who are obese or overweight to 24%, compared to 16% in other markets. Musculoskeletal problems affect 84% of Australian employees (compared to 84% in other markets), with 19% saying the problems prevented them from working.

Rates of smoking remain steady in Australia — 9% of employees currently smoke compared to 9% the previous year, while a similar proportion (9%) also smoke in other markets. The survey also revealed that 26% of Australian employees have smoked in the past but do not do so currently. Alcohol, which also has a documented negative effect on health, appears to be more of an issue in Australia compared to UK. Last year, 16.2% of Australian employees said they drank more than recommended guidelines, while that percentage was down slightly to 16% in 2018, compared to just 1.3% in other markets. More than a quarter (27%) of Australians surveyed admitted to binge drinking once a month or more.

SOME WORK-RELATED STRESS BUT FINANCIAL WORRIES ARE FEWER

Some work-related stress but financial worries are fewer Mental health is a key driver of general health and can substantially impact productivity and engagement in the workplace. Work-related stress can affect performance within an organisation, including absenteeism, productivity and turnover. More than half the employees surveyed (53%) felt they were subject to at least one dimension of work-related stress, compared to 49.6% in other markets, and one in ten Australians surveyed had been subjected to bullying in the workplace.

Financial worries are often a significant element in mental health problems. Australian employees were asked about their current financial concerns and 11% noted that they had “a lot” of such concerns (in other markets, this averaged at 20.8%).

BETTER WORK ENGAGEMENT MEANS LESS TIME LOST

An organisation’s productivity is closely linked to employee heath and this relationship can be explored through two measures: absence and presenteeism. The Work Productivity and Activity Impairment (WPAI) Questionnaire, which measures loss of productivity, found that Australian employees lost 18.8% of working hours due to absence and presenteeism, compared to 28.2% in other markets (and 16.9% in Australia’s 2017 results). This equates to 49.1 days lost per employee per year on average at an estimated average yearly cost per organisation of $11,317,565. Work engagement was found to be high or very high among 13% of respondents (compared to 20% in other markets and 15% in Australia’s 2017 results) and low among 14% of respondents.

AUSTRALIA’S HEALTHIEST WORKPLACE SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT

This report aims to demonstrate a sample of high level Australian insights from 2017 as well as to showcase the type of information that can be gleaned about organisations. It is the first science-based workplace survey in Australia to examine lifestyle, clinical indicators, stress and mental health, to help businesses understand the impact on wellbeing and productivity at an individual and company level.

2017 WINNERS

HEALTHIEST WORKPLACE

HEALTHIEST EMPLOYEES

HEALTHIEST EMPLOYER

FINDINGS

The Healthiest Workplace Survey 2017 by AIA Vitality provides Australian employers with an essential overview of the wellbeing of their employees and a deeper comprehension of the usefulness of their companies’ health practices in the workplace. The survey boosts understanding of the importance of workplace health and wellbeing among both employees and employers.

MENTAL HEALTH

Australia is fairly typical in terms of work stress and mental health with approximately half of Australians reporting at least one dimension of work-related stress.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Two-thirds of Australians get more than 150 minutes of physical exercise each week, significantly more than their counterparts in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

PRODUCTIVITY

Australian organisations show less productivity loss at 45% when compared to Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, although it is higher than in the UK.

SLEEP

On the whole, Australians get a longer night’s sleep than their Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia counterparts.

FULL REPORT

KEY FINDINGS

Australia had a broad sampling with 32 employers and 2,449 employees participating in the survey. From the results, it would appear that Australia has more similarities with the UK than with the Asian territories of Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. Some of the major challenges facing Australians today are obesity, mental health and sleep issues. It is heartening to see that there is good participation in wellness interventions in Australia and although there are some blind spots (specifically alcohol intake), employers’ generally offer some wellbeing programmes, although some offer none at all.

THE LINK BETWEEN PRODUCTIVITY LOSS AND DEPRESSION

Compared to other markets in the survey, Australian organisations show relatively low productivity loss at just 45 days’ work lost to absenteeism and presenteeism each year (this is higher than in the UK, however, where the loss is 30 days per annum). Australian employees also work fewer hours than their counterparts in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

There appears to be a correlation between sectors with high productivity loss and depression. Across all four territories (Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia), it is the young employees who struggle with mental health issues the most with more senior jobs typically reporting less productivity loss across the board.

STRESS IN THE WORKPLACE IS A FACTOR EVERYWHERE

Reports of work stress were fairly comparable with Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore – with approximately half of Australians reporting at least one dimension of work-related stress. Around 58% of employers said they felt some financial concern, which is on par with those in Hong Kong (57%).

Bullying was less of an issue in the Australian workplace compared to Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, where up to 18% of respondents reported experiencing some bullying behaviour.

AUSTRALIANS SLEEP WELL AND EXERCISE REGULARLY BUT DRINK MORE

Only a quarter of Australians slept less than seven hours a night, compared to Malaysia and Singapore where more than half of respondents were short on sleep. Incidentally, Australia also had relatively lower levels of self-reported depression (6.4%), which are comparable with the UK at 5.6%.

While more Australians are physically active — just 36% reported less than 150 minutes of exercise a week in Australia compared with 64% in Malaysia — they tend to drink significantly more alcohol. Over 16% of Australians drink more than 14 units a week, falling short of the 29% of Britons who reported doing the same. More than half of Australian employees admit eating fewer than five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

HEALTH AND WELLBEING ARE FAIRLY TYPICAL

When it comes to self-reported health risks, Australia is broadly in line with the other countries and is fairly typical in the number of wellbeing interventions that employees take part in. Few Australian employees reported high blood pressure and Australia is behind both the UK and Hong Kong for those deemed at risk of high cholesterol. However, there was a lack of awareness of interventions across many Australian workplaces, which suggests internal communications need to be improved. In every country which took part in the survey, a significant proportion of employees reported at least one musculoskeletal condition as a major factor in poor health and wellbeing: in Australia, this figure was 82.5%.

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