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Workplace health and wellness in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

In today’s fast paced work environment it is important for employees and employers alike to promote healthy working behaviors and surroundings. Healthy employees are more productive, have fewer absences and are less prone to work-related injury. It is therefore no surprise that in recent years, companies have put more effort into promoting healthy lifestyles among employees and reducing work-related stress, illness and injury. A survey from 2021 found that 79 percent of employees believed their company's wellbeing programs helped them be as productive as possible, and similarly 79 percent also believed such programs had helped them avoid getting sick.

Occupational injury and death

Unsurprisingly, work-related physical injury deaths occur most commonly in professions dealing with heavy machinery and requiring strenuous physical activity, such as logging work, fishing, and structural iron and steel work. In 2019, there were around 5,333 deaths from occupational injury in the U.S., with the largest portion involving those aged 55 to 64 years. On the other hand, incidences of non-fatal occupational injuries occur most commonly among athletes and sports competitors, heavy machinery operators, and police officers. In 2019, there were 26 injuries and illness per 100 athletes or sportsperson.

Health-related absence

While those with jobs not involving physical danger are still prone to sickness, a large portion of people do not actually take any sick days. Statista's global consumer survey from 2020 to 2021 found that roughly a third of U.S. adults did not miss any work or school/university in the past 12 months due to ill health. Of those that did, 2-3 days was the most common number of sick days taken. The start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 had an affect on seasonal health-related workplace absenteeism, where there were significantly more absenteeism recorded in the months of July and August 2020 than previous years. However, this was not observed among all industries nor among all age groups. Stress from work can also be a cause for absenteeism and can impact workers' productivity and lead to burnout when it is not properly addressed and managed.

Work-related stress

The main factors contributing to stress at work include workload, worrying about job security, and trouble balancing work and personal obligations. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, it caused many employees to suddenly having to work from home. Despite the seemingly flexibility of remote work and the elimination of long commute, over half of employees felt more stressed working from home during the pandemic. Such information has inspired more employers to provide employees with benefits and wellbeing programs to reduce stress. Health programs highly valued by employees in 2021 included onsite health centers, personalized health management, sleep improvement program or resources, and telephonic/virtual/online visit with a mental health professional.


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