Employees' physical and mental health, stress levels, sleep quality and energy levels all significantly impact important work outcomes of interest to employers, such as engagement, turnover intent and job satisfaction. Thirty-five percent of employees who rate their current overall health as excellent are highly engaged in their jobs, compared with only 25%, 22% and 23% of employees who rate their overall health as good, fair or poor, respectively. Despite the prevalence of employer health insurance programs, 8% of employees in fact have no health insurance. Nearly two-thirds (66%) of U.S employees are covered by health insurance offered by their employers. Of the balance, 26% choose to access health insurance from another source (e.g., a spouse's employer), but 8% of employees have no health insurance from either their employer or from another source. Income level makes a difference. Low-wage/low-income employees are less likely to have access to employer health insurance. They are also less likely to use it, if it is available, and they are less likely to be covered by another source. Sixty-six percent of low-wage/low-income employees have access to an employer health plan compared with 88% of middle- and high-wage and -income employees. Employees who receive at least five paid days off per year for personal illness report significantly better work and health/well-being outcomes. Fifty-six percent of employees with at least five paid days off for personal illness report high job satisfaction compared to 49% with less than five days off. Within the five-plus day group, 71% report no signs of depression, versus 61% of those with less than five days off. Having paid vacations bode well for personal health and well-being, as well as intent to stay in one's job -- and longer vacations offer greater benefits than shorter ones. Seventy-nine percent of employees have access to paid vacations with an average yearly time off of 16 days. However, 39% of employees don't use all of their vacation time and 24% take five or fewer days for longest vacation. Eighty-two percent of employees with 13+ paid vacation days say they are "not at all likely to leave their jobs" compared to 68% with 6-12 vacation days.
Building upon other studies stemming from the 2008 NSCW data, FWI's State of Health in the American Workforce report also explores various components of effective workplaces and what impact they have on employee health. Among the interesting findings: being treated with respect by managers and supervisors has a stronger effect on the mental health of low-wage/low-income employees than middle- or high-wage and -income employees, and men are more positively affected by having economic security in their jobs and a good fit between their work and personal or family lives, while women are more positively affected by being challenged in their jobs and by having autonomy.
"In the daily grind of our busy lives, it's easy to forget the price we eventually pay when we fall short on important things like sleep, diet or exercise," said FWI Senior Research Associate and report co-author, Kerstin Aumann. "This report demonstrates how our workplaces -- where we often spend most of our waking hours -- can help or hinder our personal well-being and health. Our findings serve as a wake-up calls for employers and employees alike to take a closer look at how their organizations affect people's health and well-being"