Americans who are emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace, or “actively disengaged,” are slightly more likely to smoke than those who are “engaged” or “not engaged” on the job, reports Gallup today.
“Eighteen percent of actively disengaged workers smoke vs. 15% of engaged or not engaged employees.These data hold even after controlling for income level — meaning workers who are actively
disengaged, regardless of how much income they make, are more likely to smoke. The findings also hold true across gender, age, and education level. The actively disengaged category is the worst of Gallup’s engagement groupings, which also include “not engaged” and — the best group — “engaged.”
“These findings are based on Americans’ assessments of workplace elements with proven linkages to performance outcomes, including productivity, customer service, quality, retention, safety, and profit. These data are based on surveys of more than 50,000 American adults, including 8,011 smokers, conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index and Gallup Daily tracking from January through July 2013. Overall, 18% of American employees were actively disengaged at work in 2012, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report.
“Gallup research has previously found a link between active disengagement at work and poor health. In fact, Gallup data have shown that the actively disengaged workers are just as likely as the unemployed to be in poor health. Those who are actively disengaged are more likely than other workers to have a host of chronic conditions and to be obese. And, they are more likely to experience stress, anger, and worry — particularly during the workweek — which could trigger them to smoke. The finding that these workers are also more likely to smoke fits with these prior discoveries.
“Having a low income, although related to both smoking and active disengagement, is not the reason why the actively disengaged are more likely to smoke. The actively disengaged, regardless of how much they earn annually, are more likely than those who are engaged to smoke.
“The causal direction of the relationship, though, is not clear from this data. It is possible that active disengagement causes workers to smoke, or it could be that something intrinsic to smokers makes them more likely to be actively disengaged on the job.
“Regardless of which direction the relationship goes, what is clear is that employers can benefit from helping employees either stop smoking or never pick up the habit at all. Not only are there obvious healthcare cost benefits to this, but now Gallup data also show that there may be productivity gains to be found as well if fewer workers smoke.”