Good health leads to good productivity

One of my clients recently said to me “Of course, in our industry taking short lunch breaks and working extra hours is the norm and expected”

It might feel counterproductive to persuade your employees to work fewer hours, but you might be surprised at how much of a negative impact overtime has on their health. And consequently their productivity.

A bit of context. According to the Trades Union Congress, 20% of UK workers put in an average of 7.7 hours of unpaid overtime every single week.

Some industries seem worse than others, and the education sector seems particularly extreme. More than 50% of teachers are putting in overtime that they never get paid for, at an average of nearly 12 hours per week.

A Whitehall study has been tracking the health of over 10,000 civil servants for over 30 years. According to the study, people who work for three hours or more once their seven-hour day is over, are 60% more likely to suffer heart-related illness such as heart attacks and angina.

But is work the actual cause of poor health? Or, are the kind of people who are prone to heart disease, also prone to working longer hours? What would you think?

Why should we care about our employees’ health? Well, putting moral issues to one side, it seems that health and wellbeing is strongly linked to productivity.

Bloomberg School of Public Health reported on a 13-year study, where the performance of multiple companies was tracked. Those with exceptional health and wellness programmes far out-performed those without. They achieved massive growth in terms of profits and share price.

David Cawthorne, Cedar Human Resources

If you need advice please e-mail David at
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Posted in Human Resources Blog