You’ve probably known people who insist on coming to work even though they’re sick (maybe you’re one of them) and struggle to make it through the day despite their cold, migraine or allergies. These folks might think they’re doing the right thing by soldiering through their illnesses, but they’re contributing to a serious problem.
Presenteeism, the phenomenon where employees don’t work as effectively as usual because they’re sick, costs businesses an estimated $150 to $250 billion dollars in lost productivity every year. In terms of decreased productivity, it may be 7.5 times as costly as absenteeism.
Though chronic illnesses cost companies more in health care costs, less-serious illnesses are more costly in terms of reduced productivity. According to a Cornell study, the conditions most likely to contribute to presenteeism are migraines, depression and mental illness, allergies, asthma, heart disease and high blood pressure. Contagious diseases like colds and flu, which this study did not track, also contribute to reduced productivity, and they’re all the more insidious because employees can spread them to their coworkers. Fatigue, insomnia, lower back pain and pain from injuries have also been linked to presenteeism.
Fortunately, there are ways to combat presenteeism, one of the most effective of which is having a great corporate wellness solution. Here are some of the key ways corporate wellness solutions can help keep employees from coming to work sick:
Healthier employees are less likely to come to work sick.
Presenteeism has been linked to health risk factors like inactivity, poor diet, high stress and poor sleeping habits. Wellness programs promote good habits that help employees lose weight and make them less likely to become sick or injured.
Good health habits can prevent or ease many of the conditions most likely to lead to presenteeism.
Exercise has been shown to reduce arthritis and back pain, increase asthma patients’ lung capacity and diminish allergy symptoms. Exercise and good nutrition make employees less vulnerable to injury; improve their moods and outlook, even if they suffer from depression; and help them to sleep better.
Healthy employees are less likely to contract contagious diseases.
Exercise and proper nutrition boost the immune system, protecting employees against colds and flu and making their recovery times shorter when they do get sick.
Wellness solutions improve morale.
Presenteeism is a psychosocial phenomenon as well as a physical one. Workers at companies where morale is low are 21% more likely to say presenteeism is a problem at their organizations than those at companies with high morale. Employees who feel their employer doesn’t care about their health are 123% more likely to have high rates of presenteeism. Corporate wellness solutions improve morale and send the message that an employer cares about its employees’ well-being. The culture of health they foster may help to curb presenteeism.
Wellness solutions are one of your best defenses against presenteeism. They can help ensure that your employees are working at peak efficiency, and that they’re present in mind as well as in body when they’re on the job.
Are you ready to help your company combat presenteeism with a corporate wellness solution?