Workplace Engagement Linked With Healthier Lifestyle

How engaged would you say you are in your job? If your answer is very, chances are you are also highly engaged in your health, a new study suggests.  A report from Gallup researchers shows an association between workplace engagement and leading a healthier lifestyle, particularly exercising regularly and eating healthfully.

“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 behaviors, perhaps due to time or a depressed outlook on life,” the Gallup researchers noted in the report.

“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 healthcare costs for a company in the long term and increasing energy and productivity in the near future,” they wrote.

The researchers defined workplace engagement as having enthusiasm and involvement in work, as well as emotional connectedness. Of the 353,563 U.S. adults involved in the study, researchers found that 24,611 were considered “engaged” in their work and 14,881 were considered “actively disengaged.”

Researchers found that 59 percent of those who considered themselves engaged with work said they ate healthy all day yesterday, compared with 53 percent of those actively disengaged with work. Fifty-four percent of those engaged with work exercised for at least a half hour three times a week, compared with 45 percent of those actively disengaged from work. And 47 percent of those engaged with work ate five fruit and vegetable servings for at least five days out of the week, compared with 41 percent of those disengaged with work.

Last year, a study in the journal Population Health Management showed an association between eating unhealthily and a 66 increased risk of productivity loss while on the job, as well as not exercising and a 50 percent increased risk of workplace productivity loss.

It Keeps You Out Of Poverty – This may sound glib at first, but it’s really true. Having a regular income means that you can avoid many of the health pitfalls of poverty and profound poverty. These include, according to the CDC, access to health care, management of chronic conditions, a healthful, nutritious diet, regular exercise, a reduction in stress and overall good mental health.

It Gives You Access To Better Care – Sure the Affordable Healthcare for America Act will help close the gap, but having employer-based insurance is a major indicator of healthfulness. Not only do these insurance plans make it easier to have regular check ups and continuous medication coverage, they often offer wellness incentives, like discounted gym memberships, smoking cessation programs and weight loss counseling.

It Makes You Feel Socially Connected – Research shows that people who have good relationships with coworkers actually live longer.  They also report greater happiness and life satisfaction.   Overall, belonging to a group provides a social safety net that is associated with longevity.

It Can Help You Recover – For those who have been unemployed — especially due to injury or illness — evidence shows that returning to work can speed recovery.

It Helps Us Find Purpose In Old Age – Work is often tied up in our sense of purpose and one indication of that is the growing number of people who choose to keep working into old age.  Dr. Robert Butler, founding director of the National Institute on Aging and CEO of the International Longevity Center told NPR that older adults may continue working because “they have something to get up for in the morning. It gives them a real goal, a sense of meaning.”

 

source; Huffington Post – Healthy Living

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