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What's happening to our health?



The Families and Work Institute released a report today and the news is pretty bad. We're a sick bunch of individuals. Well not exactly sick but we don't feel good about our health.

    Why? Because of work, of course. We're overworked and exercising less. The FWI report shows most American workers haven't exercised at all in the last 30 days, and 22 percent are not engaging in any rigorous exercise. Despite a push to stop smoking at the workplace, one in four still smokes. 

      We're also extremely stressed: 41 percent of employees report experiencing indicators of stress sometimes, often or very often. More of us also are depressed and have trouble falling asleep or sleeping through the night. There's more. Less than half of workers are using all their vacation time --- fearful to take time off. One in five is receiving treatment for high blood pressure. Two of three Americans are overweight. Click here to see the full report.

    Yes, it's a bleak picture the report reveals.

     Wake up employers, you need to care about these findings!!!!!!Your employees' physical and mental health, stress levels, sleep quality and energy levels affect their work engagement, turnover intent and job satisfaction.

     I wrote in my Balancing Act column today about what some employers are doing to tackle the obesity problem among employees.

   But there's so much more employers can be doing. Here's another interesting nugget the report reveals: Employees care a lot about a work life. Sadly, over the last five years, more employees are experiencing work/life conflict, especially men. Those that experience conflict feel less positive about their work.

   When employees were asked to rank what makes an effective workplace, work life fit was consistently among the top three indicators. We want our lives to be about more than work and we want our employers to make that possible.

   Here are some suggestions for employers from FWI: treat your workers with respect. Give them autonomy over how they do their jobs. Help and encourage supervisors to promote work life fit. 

   I truly believe this statement by FWI:  "Improving the work environment is a low to no cost investment that every employer should make." Click here to see FWI president Ellen Galinsky's take in The Huffington Post.

  With this new information, how do we as a society overcome the barriers to a healthier workforce?