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Workplace Stress, Sleep Among Top Employee Concerns

American Heart Association   (AHA)

October 4, 2016

More than a quarter of workers are stressed out, according to a national workplace health survey released Tuesday by the American Heart Association’s CEO Roundtable.

According to the Nielsen-conducted survey of 2,009 employees, 28 percent experience stress as a result of work. Many want their employers to recognize the stress they are under and allow for flexibility where they work and when they work to help reduce stress.

Employees also want to get more sleep (28 percent), lose weight and be more active (40 percent), eat more healthy foods (37 percent), and improve their financial health (28 percent), the survey found.

The findings suggest that employers and CEOs play a big role in motivating employees to focus on their health and well-being.

Henry Kravis, co-chairman and co-CEO of KKR, helps lead the CEO Roundtable, a group of 26 CEOs from some of America’s largest employers.

“The objective of the CEO Roundtable is to build a culture of health and wellness in the workplace,” Kravis said in a news release. “This latest study reinforces the substantial impact health and wellness programs can have on employee engagement and the responsibility of the CEO to lead by example.”

In companies with CEOs who are active in workplace health programs, 70 percent of employees report their employer “cares a great deal” or “a lot” about employee health compared with 12 percent without visible CEO participation.

Employees who know their CEO participates are much more likely to participate themselves and report being more productive, with improved work quality and higher job satisfaction.

Age also appears to play a role in health priorities. For example, getting more sleep is a higher priority for younger millennials ages 18 to 26 than for older workers, and reducing stress is of highest concern to older millennials ages 27 to 35. Meanwhile, losing weight is a bigger priority for 36- to 69-year-olds than for younger workers.

The AHA said it will use the findings to enhance workplace health programs available to companies nationwide.

“These results provide employers with an opportunity to meaningfully impact employee program effectiveness and ultimately the health of their employees,” AHA CEO Nancy Brown said in a news release. Brown leads the Roundtable alongside Kravis and Terry Lundgren, chairman and CEO of Macy’s, Inc.

Earlier this year, the AHA and CEO Roundtable launched the Workplace Health Solutions program to help employers better design, tailor and deliver health programs.

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