'Engaged' workers healthier, productive

Jan. 19, 2013 at 2:03 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. workers who are engaged in their work and workplace are more likely than those who are not engaged to have a healthier lifestyle, a survey indicates.

The Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted January-December 2012 found engaged employees ate healthier, exercised more frequently and consumed more fruits and vegetables.

The employee engagement index was based on research on actionable workplace elements with proven linkages to performance outcomes, including productivity, customer service, quality, retention, safety and profit. The 12 questions included in the survey were intended to help sort workers into one of three categories -- engaged, not engaged or actively disengaged, Gallup said.

Engaged employees are deeply involved in and enthusiastic about their work. Those not engaged might be satisfied but are not emotionally connected to their workplaces and are less likely to put in discretionary effort. Actively disengaged employees are emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace and jeopardize their teams' performance, Gallup said.

Gallup research previously found employee engagement was positively correlated with better health -- engaged workers are less likely to be obese and to have chronic diseases. Gallup said its research showed the way in which leaders manage workers could significantly influence employees' engagement, which in turn affected a company's bottom line and workers' health and well being.

Since engaged employees are more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle, workplaces that actively improve engagement might end up seeing an added benefit of better employee health -- the potential benefits of which include reducing healthcare costs, increased energy and increased productivity.

The Gallup Daily tracking survey of 353,563 U.S. adults, included 19,392 unemployed, 14,881 actively disengaged, 43,136 not engaged, and 24,611 engaged respondents. It has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points to 4.9 percentage points.

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