Productivity loss resulting from employee sickness
According to the survey findings in Hong Kong ,15.0% of surveyed employees had missed work time due to health problems in the week prior to the survey. The survey results show that the loss of productivity due to health-related absenteeism and presenteeism accounts for almost 30% (29.6%) of an employee’s working hours on average, which is equivalent to a loss of 77.3 working days per employee every year, the worst among five markets in Asia Pacific and significantly higher than the Asia Pacific average of 67.1 days. The survey estimates that the loss per organisation per month amounts to HK$3.74 million on average, a significant 25% increase year-on-year.
Unhealthy living habits endanger employees’ physical health
Healthy living habits are essential to maintaining physical health. However, the survey shows that Hong Kong employees are unable to practice a healthy lifestyle, and imbalanced nutrition is their highest health risk. Around 80% (78.3%) of the respondents claimed they do not have a balanced diet, with insufficient consumption of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Physical inactivity and sleep deprivation are also common phenomena among the working population. Around 60% (58.6%) of interviewed employees said they have less than 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week. In addition, one out of two (47.5%) employees reported getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night, higher than last year’s 44.7%. 18.0% of respondents indicated they had poor or very poor sleep quality.
Meanwhile, there are also signs of deterioration in Hong Kong employees’ clinical health. The percentage of obese employees has increased from last year’s 21.4% to 23.3%, almost 80% higher than the Asia Pacific average of 13.3%. More than 80% (85.0%) of respondents reported one or more symptoms of musculoskeletal conditions, while nearly 10% (9.0%) revealed that pain or discomfort resulting from musculoskeletal disorders has prevented them from going to work. In addition, over 20% (22.0%) of respondents reported one or more chronic conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart diseases, indicating a worrying trend.
Mental health hampers work productivity
The combination of a hectic lifestyle and work-related stress is taking a toll on the mental health of Hong Kong people and consequently affects work efficiency. The survey found that 57.0% of employees interviewed face at least one dimension of work-related stress. 12.2% of the respondents admitted that they have moderate or severe symptoms of depression, nearly 70% higher than the Asia Pacific average of 7.2%. Moreover, 16.3% of respondents mentioned that they have financial concerns, a slight increase from last year’s 12.7%. Close to 30% (28.7%) of surveyed employees score low or very low in level of work engagement. These findings indicate negative impacts on work efficiency, as well as business productivity and competitiveness.
Research and analysis for the “Healthiest Workplace by AIA Vitality” is conducted by AIA’s Academic partners RAND Europe and academic institutions across various geographical regions. Now in its third year, the survey covers employees from a wide range of organisations and industries across five markets in Asia Pacific including Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The survey is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of employees’ health and wellbeing, which in turn helps employers formulate useful strategies to support employees practicing healthy living and improve overall company productivity. From May to July 2019, a total of 1,169 employees from 38 organisations in Hong Kong participated in the survey.