Worrying about finances and getting less than seven hours sleep are the biggest impairments on productivity at work, according to a study from Cambridge University and Rand Europe.

Speaking to 21,000 employees across the UK, researchers found that there are 12 factors that contribute to loss of productivity through absenteeism and presenteeism, ranging from personal and health concerns such as weight and mental health, to workplace stressors including bullying.

The report stated:

“Our findings suggest that lack of sleep, financial concerns and giving unpaid care to family members or relatives are negatively associated with productivity.

“Flexible modern working practices have also increased daily job demands… [leading] to increasing levels of sickness absence but also to the emergence of a phenomenon called ‘presenteeism’, when employees attend work while in suboptimal health. It is estimated that presenteeism driven by mental ill-health costs the UK economy £15bn per year.”

The amount employees smoke and drink were found to have little effect on productivity levels.

According to the report, the results were dependent on each worker’s overall satisfaction with their job:

 “When looking at factors determining workplace productivity which are related to the nature of the job, the work environment or the organisation, we find that employees who are satisfied with their job show less lost productivity due to absenteeism or presenteeism than employees that are unhappy with their current job.”

The twelve areas correlated with diminished productivity are:

  1. Having financial concerns
  2. Sleeping less than seven hours per night
  3. Being underweight
  4. Being overweight
  5. Physical inactivity
  6. Adding unhealthy fats to meals, such as butter or mayonnaise
  7. Showing symptoms of depression
  8. Being subject to bullying in the workplace
  9. Having strained relationships with colleagues
  10. Being subject to unrealistic demands in the workplace
  11. Having high blood pressure
  12. Having at least one musculoskeletal condition