New Study Emphasizes Importance of Multi-Faceted Well-Being Approach to Improve Productivity

Reduced Productivity Occurs as Risk Behaviors Increase and Chronic Conditions Emerge; and as Physical and Emotional Health Decreases

KINGSTON, R.I. & NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Findings from a new study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine suggest that organizations may want to review their approaches to managing presenteeism – productivity loss from employees who are physically present at work, yet perform sub-optimally due to health problems or other barriers like personal problems or worries. Rather than focusing exclusively on physical health, employers can more effectively influence productivity by holistically measuring presenteeism and providing actionable information focused on physical, social and emotional health and well-being.

Presenteeism is currently estimated to cost the United States more than $150 billion annually, accounting for 71 percent of the total costs of lost productivity1. This collaborative study conducted by Pro-Change Behavior Systems, Inc., and Healthways, developed and evaluated the Healthways Well-Being Assessment for Productivity (WBA-P) as an assessment of job performance loss due to well-being related barriers.

By surveying 1,827 employed individuals, the study confirms that the WBA-P is a valid and reliable measure of presenteeism, showing productivity loss increased significantly as the number of health risk factors and chronic conditions increased and as overall physical and emotional health decreased. In addition, it shows lower productivity for those that expressed they are struggling and suffering in their life evaluation.

“While previous research has supported the negative impact absenteeism has on organizations, the Well-Being Assessment for Productivity is the first measure of presenteeism that captures a range of performance barriers related to work and ‘personal’ life,” said James O. Prochaska, PhD, Founder, Pro-Change Behavior Systems. “This study marks a critical turning point in solving the presenteeism problem, as employers are now capable of identifying, customizing treatments for and tracking specific sources of productivity loss across business, business units and teams.”

The WBA-P is a component of Healthways Well-Being Assessment, a measurement instrument which provides organizations information on the overall well-being of their employees, as well as the impact well-being is having on the productivity of the workforce. The Well-Being Assessment allows organizations to deliver a single measure that will provide the information needed to guide well-being and performance enhancement programs and to measure their impact on employee productivity.

“These findings clearly show it is critical to consider a broader view of presenteeism and specific sources of productivity loss as part of a well-being improvement strategy,” said James E. Pope M.D., coauthor of the article and Chief Science Officer at Healthways. “Business leaders must provide solutions that support employees in their homes, communities and work environments in order to improve overall well-being, which in turn improves productivity and reduces costs.”

Article: “The Well-Being Assessment for Productivity; A Well-Being Approach to Presenteeism.” James O. Prochaska, PhD, Kerry E. Evers, PhD, Janet L. Johnson, PhD, Patricia H. Castle, MA, Janice M. Prochaska, PhD, Lindsay E. Sears, PhD, Elizabeth Y. Rula, PhD, and James E Pope, MD; Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Published July 2011.

Full Study Available: The Well-Being Assessment for Productivity; A Well-Being Approach to Presenteeism.

About Pro-Change

Pro-Change Behavior Systems, Inc., a certified Women’s Business Enterprise, is the leading research and development company for computer- and coaching-based programs to change health risk behaviors. Based on the Transtheoretical Model developed by founder Dr. James O. Prochaska, Pro-Change programs are for entire populations and are uniquely tailored to each individual. Pro-Change programs have produced unprecedented impacts on multiple behaviors to enhance health and reduce health care costs. In 2009, Pro-Change’s LifeStyle Management Programs for Stress Management, Depression Prevention, Weight Management, Exercising Regularly, Smoking Cessation, and Medication Adherence won the URAC Gold Award for Best Practices in Health Management. For more information about Pro-Change, please visit

About Healthways

Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) is the leading provider of specialized, comprehensive solutions to help millions of people maintain or improve their health and well-being and, as a result, reduce overall costs. Healthways' Well-Being Improvement Solution is designed to keep healthy people healthy, reduce health-related risks and optimize care for those with chronic illness. Our proven, evidence-based approach provides highly specific and personalized interventions for each individual in a population, irrespective of age or health status, and is delivered to consumers by phone, mail, internet and face-to-face interactions, both domestically and internationally. Healthways also provides a national, fully accredited complementary and alternative Health Provider Network and a national Fitness Center Network, offering convenient access to individuals who seek health services outside of, and in conjunction with, the traditional healthcare system. For more information, please visit

1 Stewart WF, Ricca JA, Chee E, Morganstein D. Lost productive work time costs from health conditions in the United States: results from the American Productivity Audit. J Occup Environ Med. 2003;45: 1227-1234.

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