Employer-Provided Child Care Can Cut Stress, Improve Health of Workers
The study, by the consulting practice at Bright Horizons Family Solutions and Dr. Jamie Ladge of Northeastern University, compared stress, health, and wellness outcomes for more than 4,000 working adults. One group of respondents consisted of employees with children under the age of 13 who did not have access to dependent care supports through their employer while the other group included working adults with similar demographics who utilized employer-sponsored dependent care such as work site child care, adult care, and "just in time" backup care for well and mildly ill children.
The findings revealed a clear link between employer-sponsored dependent care supports and decreased stress and stress-related illnesses. Researchers also noted decreased incidences of physical health issues such as headaches and digestive problems and more serious health issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. In addition, respondents with child care support from their employer were 31 percent less likely to report lost productivity due to stress over the past month and reported 25 percent fewer personal health concerns due to stress.
"The results of the study confirmed what leading employers know about the positive impact of dependent care supports on employee engagement and productivity -- that engagement leads to highly motivated workers and strong business growth," said Dave Lissy, CEO of Bright Horizons. "But these new findings that highlight the impact these supports have on health and well-being are very compelling, particularly in light of rising health care costs and the continued focus on supporting employee health and wellness. Clearly, employers who offer these supports have healthier employees and in turn a healthier business."
The study also examined how work/life supports impacted employee engagement. Ladge said experts have indicated that highly engaged employees are twice as likely to be top performers and companies with engaged employees see higher productivity and less turnover.
"Respondents from organizations with dependent care supports were 45 percent more likely to agree or agree strongly with the key indicators that measure employee engagement, showing a very strong correlation between work/life supportiveness and engagement," said Ladge, whose research at Northeastern University focuses on the intersection of careers, identity and work/life integration. "As the needs of the workforce continue to shift, to help keep employees engaged and achieving at their highest potential, organizations must create a culture that is supportive of the challenges that employees face and demonstrate that there is a shared goal of the employee succeeding at work and at home."
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
September 27, 2010
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