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%.