If you run a business, it's no secret, absenteeism is a zinger. Costs to your business could include loss of productivity, profits, and success. Don’t have that problem, you say? Did you know presenteeism could be worse?
What’s presenteeism? I had never heard of it.
It’s when employees come to work sick. It could be, because they don’t have enough paid time off to spare. Or perhaps they’ve had to stay home with a sick child. Other times, it’s more about looking like top dog. Or perhaps they are feeling anxious about losing their job.
Chronic illnesses such as allergies, fibromyalgia, and depression take a toll on anyone. When it affects your employees, it can make their work a lot less productive (and less accurate). Bigger mistakes are made when someone is in pain or distress, and he/she can’t focus with clarity, creativity, and foresight.
Would you believe, experts say presenteeism is costing your company vastly more in loss of productivity and profit?
Well-publicized studies have estimated the nationwide costs of ailments in the U.S workplace. Two articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association a decade ago reported that depression set U.S. employers back $35 billion a year in reduced performance at work; and that pain conditions such as arthritis, headaches, and back problems cost nearly $47 billion. In a survey of 29,000 working adults suffering from depression and/or pain, dubbed the American Productivity Audit—Walter F. (“Buzz”) Stewart, a director of the Center for Health Research & Rural Advocacy at Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pennsylvania calculated the cost of presenteeism in the United States to be more than $150 billion per year.
Estimates vary, but some suggest that presenteeism accounts for 75 percent of productivity loss, while absenteeism represents the balance. Our society's drive to work at all costs, even when sick, is killing our competitive edge, productivity, and creativity. More than that, it’s killing our happiness!
Take a look. Is your copywriter sniffling down the hall? Is the VP dragging himself to a meeting when he should be lying down? Does the receptionist run back and forth to the bathroom? How many of these illnesses are preventable? What can we do to shift the perception that people should tough it out, and show up even if they’re sick?
Let’s find a solution. When you take a look at most of these health issues, at the root of the problem is stress. It’s a fact that 75 percent of doctor visits are related to stress. Deepak Chopra has identified stress as the number one epidemic of our civilization—directly or indirectly connected to every other disease, costing us about 3.2 trillion dollars a year.
Here’s the good news: you can make an impact! We can work together to address our nation’s health care issues, with 80% of all heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes attributed to poor lifestyle choices. It’s a small investment with enormous reward, since addressing stress is the most tangible way to tackle presenteeism. Here’s some tactics that have worked:
Connecting with your most valuable asset, your employees, is essential today. Consider this a phenomenal opportunity—really a responsibility—to influence human health and wellness. In the U.S., work takes up the majority of our time and influences our sense of purpose, making it a major driver in how good we feel about our lives overall. So it’s imperative that business owners address presenteeism, to help employees thrive, be healthy, happy, and creative.
For your own personalized yoga, meditation, and wellness program, contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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