Young workers living with more than one health condition such as arthritis, asthma, and anxiety are significantly less productive in the workplace, according to new Curtin University research.
Researchers said the number of young workers suffering from multiple health conditions is expected to rise in the coming years, and that it was vital employers took early preventative measures to minimise the impact on productivity.
Published in the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, the study analysed data from the Raine Study to examine the impact of common health conditions on work productivity in young employed adults.
Curtin University senior author and Professor Leon Straker said keeping young people healthy and productive was essential for businesses but also to supporting a high standard of living for society overall.
“Despite a common belief that young workers are healthy, we found that more than half of the young adults involved in this study experienced multiple health conditions.”
“We also found that there was a significant link between multiple health conditions in young workers and poor productivity in the workplace.”
“Of all the health conditions investigated, we found that young adults who were living with musculoskeletal, sleep and mental conditions experienced poorer work productivity.”
Amsterdam University Medical Centre co-author Dr Pieter Coenen said the findings highlighted the importance of taking early preventative measures to minimise the impact of health disorders among young workers.
“The number of people living with more than one long-term health condition is expected to rise in the coming years, so it is important for strategies to be implemented at the start of young workers’ careers to reduce the burden.”
“These could include reducing the prevalence of multiple health conditions, increasing employees’ ability to cope with their condition, and improving the accessibility of workplaces for employees with health conditions.”
Access the full study here.
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