Research: Savings of 100 000 euros with break exercise

The study found that sick leaves were able to be decreased by half a day per person in a three month intervention period. This means that during a year it is possible to cut the amount of absences by 2 days per person.

Article’s expert is Cuckoo’s Wellbeing specialist Anni Havas

In this article Anni goes through the results of the study conduct by The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

“It’s important to add light, versatile movement and encourage to also change working posture in remote- and hybrid work environments.”

In this article you’ll find out results of a study made by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health – including these facts:

  • Positive effect on social, mental and physical wellbeing

  • Decreased amount of sick leaves (2 days / person / year)

  • Increased productivity (1,5 € / person / hour)

  • Financial savings (up to 100 000€ per year)

  • Stronger work community

Name of the study: Office workers’ wellbeing – less sitting and more communality with break exercise?

Producer of the study: The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. Punakallio, A., Halonen, J., Pehkonen, I., Turpeinen, M., Turunen, J., Remes, J., Lusa, S. & Miranda, H.

Implementation of the study: 2016-2018. Initial mapping, initial measurements and questionnaires, intervention (3-6 months), final questionnaires, measurements and interviews.

Research group: Intervention was done to a group of employees of Nokia and LähiTapiola.

Results – significant financial benefits

The study found that sick leaves were able to be decreased by half a day per person in a three month intervention period. This means that during a year it is possible to cut the amount of absences by 2 days per person. The average cost of a sick day is about 500€ which means that in an organization of 100 employees the savings would be about 100 000 € per year.

They also found an increase in employees’ productivity during the intervention. According to the study productivity increased 1,5 €/hour which means over 2600 € per person during a year. In a 100 employee organization the increase in productivity rises to hundreds of thousands of euros per year.

The results are significant for the organization’s finances, but they also affect employees’ personal life, wellbeing and contentment at work. In the next chapter we will look more deeply into how the study was conducted. We will analyze the results of the research and examine the realistic benefits of Cuckoo in the organization.


Savings in an organization of 100 employees

Productivity up with breaks

In the study, productivity was measured by the experience of participants. Productivity is affected by attentiveness, sense of ability and energy. Factors that can decrease productivity can be for example tiredness, memory problems or the feeling of not achieving goals. These feelings were reported to have decreased in the intervention group.

Productivity was estimated to increase by 1,5 € per hour. In a year this means over 2600 € per person. Realistically we can estimate that a third of the employees will achieve this amount of benefit. This increase in productivity would cause an organization (100 employees) almost a 90 000 € financial benefit.

1.5 €/hour

Estimated increase in productivity

2600 €/person

Estimated increase in productivity

“Productivity in work is of great significance to an organization’s finances, but affects us also on an individual level. Everyone wants to feel that they can succeed and be effective at their work. If the environment and increased vitality enables us better chances to succeed, we can rise to our best potential. Success in work affects the employee experience positively and is a great way to commit employees.”

Anni Havas, Wellbeing specialist, Cuckoo

Sitting decreased and activity increased with Cuckoo

Sick leaves are mostly caused by musculoskeletal issues that are a consequence of excessive passivity. Exercise taking place on leisure time is not adequate to compensate for 8 hours of sitting at work. Light exercise during work days and breaking sitting with variable working postures cut passive times, accelerate metabolism and decrease musculoskeletal pains.

In addition to a decreased amount of sitting, also activity had increased during the intervention. After 3 months of using Cuckoo the daily amount of steps had increased by an average of 700 steps. The micro breaks might not add to the amount of steps that much, but Cuckoo encouraged the users to also make other active choices throughout the day such as taking the stairs, walking to work or having a walking meeting. Overall the increased amount of energy enables a more active lifestyle also in freetime.

“Increased activity with decreased sitting and less musculoskeletal issues affect the amount of sick days. In remote work natural movement decreases and home office ergonomics are often worse than at the office. This is why it’s important to add light, versatile movement and encourage to also change working posture in remote- and hybrid work environments.”

Anni Havas, Well being specialist, Cuckoo

In the study they found Cuckoo to have a positive impact on activity levels. During a 3 month intervention sitting had decreased by an average of 30 minutes per day. In a 6 month intervention sitting had decreased 47 minutes a day. In the study participants were differentiated by how actively they used Cuckoo. The most active users had decreased their sitting with 40 minutes even on day offs which means the positive routines followed into their leisure time.

Significant decrease in sick days affects the organization’s financial situation. Earlier it was stated that two days less sick leave saves the organization about 100 000 € a year. If even 30% of the employees achieve these health benefits with the wellbeing app, the savings are significant. According to the study the usage rate of the service is affected by the support and example of leaders as well as positive attitude and visibility of break exercise at the office. Also the app itself supports behavior change with its gamified elements.

30 min/day

= decrease of time spent sitting

Benefits greater than costs

In the study, Cuckoo wellbeing app was proven to be a profitable investment to a company financially. It is explained by savings in sick leaves and the increase in working productivity. The usage of Cuckoo costs less than 6 000 € for an organization of 100 employees a year. In this case the company can be left with over 100 000 € more by successfully implementing the app.

Other benefits of the Cuckoo app were enhanced recovery and increased sense of communality at work. The increased communality is also a factor that positively affects productivity. A more open and supportive organizational culture makes the employee experience better and improves results. It is also proven that employees prefer to work in a community with strong social relations.

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