Development of productivity loss measures

Productivity loss could be defined as the difference between what employees normally produce and how much they produce when affected by health problems. Other factors besides employee health such as work environment factors may also affect the performance of the employee, and only measuring the contribution of ill-health might underestimate the actual productivity loss which is mostly a cost to the employer.


In our previous work within this project, two single-item questions based on the Swedish version of Work Productivity and Activity Impairment General Health questionnaire (WPAI-GH version 1.0) have been developed. The questions adopted a performance-based approach to estimate health- and work environment-related productivity losses. These two measures of productivity loss, health related and work environment–related production loss, and their associations with health status and work environment factors have been tested.


In further studies, the questions developed in the research group, is currently being tested for other psychometric properties and to standardize and check for measurement uncertainties using Rasch analysis. The single item questions are intended to be used to make a business case for a healthy workplace and employees by investing in occupational safety and health (OSH).

Researcher, project time, and funding

Participating researcher is Irene Jensen and Emmanuel Aboagye in cooperation with Jeanette Melin,  RISE. The project is ongoing and is funded by faculty means


Strömberg C, Aboagye E, Hagberg J, Bergström G, Lohela-karlsson M. Estimating the Effect and Economic Impact of Absenteeism, Presenteeism, and Work Environment-Related Problems on Reductions in Productivity from a Managerial Perspective Value in health : the journal of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research 2017;20(8):1058-1064

Aboagye E. From health outcomes to value assessment: Preference based evaluation of interventions and valuation of productivity costs in working adults. Ph.D. thesis, Department of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet. Stockholm: 2017.

Validity and test-retest reliability of an at-work production loss instrument Aboagye E, Jensen I, Bergström G, Hagberg J, Axén I, Lohela-karlsson M Occupational medicine (Oxford, England) 2016;66(5):377-82

Validation of a measure of health-related production loss: construct validity and responsiveness - a cohort study Lohela Karlsson M, Busch H, Aboagye E, Jensen I BMC public health 2015;15:1148-

Lohela-Karlsson, M., Hagberg, J. & Bergström, G. Production loss among employees perceiving work environment problems. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 88, 769–777 (2015).

Lohela Karlsson, M; Bergström, G; Björklund, C; Hagberg, J; Jensen, I. Measuring Production Loss due to Health and Work Environment Problems: Construct Validity and Implications, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: December 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 12 - p 1475-1483 doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000005


Irene Jensen

C6 Institute of Environmental Medicine

Emmanuel Aboagye

Postdoctoral researcher
C6 Institute of Environmental Medicine