Top Productivity Boost at Work is Resting Eyes

February 16, 2020
MHE Staff

2020 wellness survey finds employees want more health programs, but few employers are offering them.

Nearly all employees (92%) say having workplace wellness initiatives are important, but new research recently released finds far fewer of their employers (60%) are actually offering these initiatives-and its impacting productivity, quality of work and overall health, according to a news release by Cision PR Newswire.

Results from the new Transitions Optical Workplace Wellness Survey released employees say the top way to improve their overall productivity and quality of work would be encouragement by employers to take breaks to rest their eyes and prevent eyestrain. 

Half of all employees agree taking this step is critical-followed by receiving financial assistance for fitness programs (45%) and getting catered lunches (40%). Despite this, fewer than one-third of employers are encouraging these types of wellness initiatives.

Data from this survey was collected by 1,300 U.S. adults 18 years and older who are employed full-time or part-time and whose employers offer vision benefits.

Related: Vision Care: Front-Line to Whole Body Health

Nearly all employees (99%) say seeing well at work makes it easier to do their job, for example: being able to read their screens without straining their eyes or being bothered by light or glare. Despite this, almost three-quarters of employees say they frequently experience digital eyestrain in the workplace-with eight in 10 saying they experience negative symptoms from looking at a screen all day, the release says. These symptoms include eyestrain, back, neck and shoulder pain and headaches.

In addition, the lack of natural lighting and bright, fluorescent lighting are negatively impacting the ability for employees to perform their best. Also, when employees do take a break, they are still looking at their screens-doing activities such as texting (65%), checking email (61%), and looking at social media (52%). With employees saying that workplace eye health would boost productivity and overall health-and particularly younger generations who are making up an increasing portion of the workplace-the opportunity is new to arm employers with the tools they need to implement a successful workplace wellness program, including offering comprehensive vision benefits plans that cover premium eyewear options, the release says.

Steps to Protect Eyes at Work
While eight in 10 employees say they have taken measures to protect their eyes from digital eyestrain (such as dimming screen brightness, limiting screen time and dimming lights in their workplace), few employees are taking advantage of simple ways to further protect their eyes.

Though many comprehensive vision plans offer full or partial coverage of eyewear options to help protect the eyes and enhance vision, just 22% of those surveyed wear lenses with anti-reflective coating, 16% wear lenses with a blue-light filter, and only 15% wear photochromic lenses, which automatically adapt their level of tint to changing ultraviolet (UV) light and offer additional protection from harmful blue light and glare, both indoors and out, such as Transitions® Light Intelligent Lenses™.

"Today's workforce is savvier than ever when it comes to overall health and wellness, and they know protecting their eyes is crucial-especially as screen usage continues to increase," says Drew Smith, director, North America channels, Transitions Optical. "Employers can-and should-take simple measures to implement wellness programs in their offices, such as encouraging their employees to take breaks to rest their eyes. In addition, offering a vision benefits plan that covers eyewear options to correct common visual problems, and offering ongoing education about sight-enhancing eyeglass lens options, are all steps to address the needs of today's employees."

See Well and Work Well with Vision Benefits
Employees not only need vision benefits-they want them, and they're more likely to engage with employers who offer them, according to the release.

In fact, nearly two in three employees say they would be more likely to accept a job offering vision benefits. Brand name matters, as well. Eight in 10 employees say they'd be more likely to enroll in or keep a vision plan that covers eyewear options like Transitions® Light Intelligent Lenses™. Lastly, seven in 10 say it's important to have authentic Transitions® brand lenses covered by their company's vision plan.

Among the most desired premium lens options include:

  • Anti-reflective or no-glare coatings: 62% of employees.

  • Scratch-resistant lenses: 62% of employees.

  • Photochromic lenses, like Transitions lenses: 37% of employees.

  • Blue light protection: 31% of employees.

Older generations are especially interested in these types of premium lenses, with six in 10 Generation X employees and seven in 10 Boomers wanting no-glare coatings. This is an opportunity to reach and educate younger generations about the benefits these types of lenses bring, and also encourage them to get a yearly eye exam.

The wellness survey revealed nine in 10 employees say they're likely to get a comprehensive eye exam in the next year-but only half of Generation Z employees are very likely. With these workers showing interest in eye health, now is the time to keep them informed and engaged, according to the release.

To help elevate the importance of comprehensive eye exams and quality eyewear available through vision benefits, Transitions Optical offers a variety of broker, employee and employer focused tools and education. These can be accessed at HealthySightWorkingforYou.org.