Reframing Employee Health: Moving Beyond Burnout to Holistic Health

A new McKinsey Health Institute survey across 30 countries offers insights into how organizations can help create a workplace that prioritizes physical, mental, social, and spiritual health.

SMEBRNovember 4, 19:42
Reframing Employee Health

For most adults, the majority of waking daily life is spent at work. That offers employers an opportunity to influence their employees’ physical, mental, social, and spiritual health.

To support the move to better health, the McKinsey Health Institute (MHI), along with other organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), are highlighting a more modern way to view health beyond illness and its absence. Embracing the concept of holistic health—an integrated view of an individual’s mental, physical, spiritual, and social functioning—is a vital step toward “adding years to life and life to years” across continents, sectors, and communities.

Previous research from MHI has focused on how modifiable drivers of health can lead to healthier, longer lives. The majority of these—ranging from quality of sleep to time spent in nature—sit outside of the traditional healthcare system, and many of these drivers could benefit from employer support. MHI’s new survey of 30,000 employees across 30 countries explores how employees perceive their health and how workplace factors may act as demands upon or enablers to mental, physical, spiritual, and social health.

The reasons to act go beyond improving health. Recent McKinsey research finds that employee disengagement and attrition—more common among workers with lower well-being—could cost a median-size S&P company between $228 million and $355 million a year in lost productivity. Research by MHI and Business in the Community showed that the UK economic value of improved employee well-being could be between £130 billion to £370 billion per year or from 6 to 17 percent of the United Kingdom’s GDP. That’s the equivalent of £4,000 to £12,000 per UK employee.

The MHI Holistic Health framework and research model demonstrates the additional value of measuring holistic health over and above other popular health-related outcomes such as burnout or other well-being-related outcomes such as engagement or happiness. 

This information was extracted from McKinsey’s official website.