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November 01, 2001
Attacks Are Hurting Productivity
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re has been a substantial reduction in productive work time for employees in all regions of the country during the two weeks following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to a new study.

The study, commissioned by health-plan provider AdvancePCS, found that on average, employee health problems such as fatigue, stomach and digestive disorders, headache, back pain, or simply feeling "sad and blue" resulted in a loss of 4.5 productive hours per worker the week following the attack, which is more than double the 2.1 productive hours lost per worker per week prior to the attacks.

All regions of the country experienced similar reductions.

"The tragic loss of life from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 has deeply affected Americans everywhere," said Walter Stewart, Ph.D., M.P.H., vice president of research for AdvancePCS and director of the AdvancePCS Center for Work and Health. "The impact of the attacks on employee health goes well beyond time absent from work. It also includes on-the-job performance.

"The good news is that the American workforce is highly resilient," he added. "The study found that Americans returned to close-to-normal productivity levels after only two weeks although we are still noticing some residual effects."

The terrorism impact study was based on 1,737 interviews of the U.S. workforce and is part of the American Productivity Audit (APA), an ongoing daily national survey of U.S. workers begun earlier this year by AdvancePCS. The audit is providing the first reliable data available about the relationship between health problems and lost work time.

The "Productive Hour Index" calculated by the audit is a national benchmark that can help businesses evaluate the health and productivity of their own employees.

The APA is conducted by the AdvancePCS Center for Work and Health. The center seeks to increase awareness of the impact of illness in the workplace and to develop programs that help improve employee health and productive time.
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