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27% of large company employees suffer from excessive work: survey
  • By Constance Williams
  • Published 2017.10.25 16:52
  • Updated 2017.10.25 16:52
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About 27 percent of employees working at the nation’s 30 largest companies are suffering from excessive workload, amid insufficient health management by their employers, a survey shows.

A team led by Professor Yoon Young-ho윤영호 of the Smart Management Strategy of Health (SMASH) Laboratory, Seoul National University College of Medicine서울대학교 의과대학 has developed a tool called the Worksite Health Index (WHI) to evaluate the structure and performance of healthcare management in domestic companies.

The team surveyed 2,433 healthcare managers and employees at 30 large corporations.

The WHI consists of 136 items in five areas, and each area is digitized (0-100 points). The five areas were the structural organization (76 points), demand survey and planning (56 points), health promotion and disease prevention program (59 points), industrial safety and health (54 points), and evaluation and feedback (53 points).

Announcing the average score of 60 points in the five areas, the team confirmed that companies have structures for employee health management, but the implementation is still insufficient, showing the need to upgrade the health management at these enterprises.

Workers who spend most of their time at work have a direct and indirect impact on their health habits and conditions. Previous studies have shown that persistent stress from work can lead to harmful health conditions, such as depression and heart disease, according to the survey report.

Professor Yoon Young-ho

For companies to compete in the international community, they should check the health of their employees and their health programs and create a healthy culture, the team citied. Many companies can reduce indirect costs such as reduced absenteeism, in addition to the direct cost of health deterioration if the health of the worker improves, it noted.

While the most insufficient part of the employee health management was the prevention of excessive work and providing adequate rest (27.1 percent), many also pointed to personalized healthcare, not formal health screening (16.2 percent), exercise- and health-related support (14.8 percent), stress management at workplaces (12.4 percent) and caring for a worthy life (10.3 percent).

“In other words, not only physical health but also spiritual/social health should be improved,” the report stressed.

Sixteen of the 30 large corporations also participated in a survey on the health status of their employees. As a result of comparing health status and health behaviors with 1,000 ordinary people who also participated in the survey of 2,433 employees, the latter group’s social health status was better than that of the general public, but its physical, spiritual and general health status was worse.

Large company employees showed the highest rate of 61 percent in quitting smoking for more than six months compared with the general population but performed poorer in other health practices except for regular health checkups.

“Most companies remain at providing one-off health checks or partial health care programs for employees,” Professor Yoon said. “The newly developed Worksite Health Index will help companies identify their weaknesses by evaluating their health management system and establish a health management strategy that sets the most effective priorities for future health investment.”


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