Workplace presenteeism; Combating the hidden cost.
[fusion_text]The loss of productivity when employees come to work but are not fully functioning due to workplace illness or injury has become an area of increasing importance in recent years. Such conditions include headaches, lower back pain, arthritis, colds and the flu, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognising the workplace as a priority setting when considering an individual’s health and well-being.
Previously workplace absenteeism has received more focus within the workplace as attendance is a visible and easily recorded measurement. However, the evidence in recent years has revealed the iceberg-like relationship between visible work absenteeism and invisible presenteeism. More workplace performance is lost due to presenteeism then absenteeism, with the former annually costing the UK economy an estimated £15bn per year through lost productivity compared to the £8bn attributed to the latter (Aston Uni 2010).
The CIPD Absence Management Survey 2014 showed a decrease in average employee absences from 7.6 to 6.6 days per year, which is good news for employers at first glance. However, a third of employers have reported an subsequent increase in the number of employees coming to work whilst ill which demonstrates a dangerous rise in presenteeism. This may be due to fears over job security thus joining a growing trend of using annual leave to recover and avoid sick days on their records. In turn this can lead to exhausted staff which may affect their performance further when they return from their recovery break.
According to research by Nuffield Health, the sectors that are most likely to work whilst unwell are retail, followed by manufacturing and education. The research also showed that employees who earn less are more likely to turn up to work unwell. A study by Burton et al (2005) found that high risk individuals were up to 12.5% less productive in their roles in the office.
Managing presenteeism offers the opportunity to save money in the long term, preserve the productivity of the workforce as well as create a healthier, more motivated and committed workforce.
Proactive workplace interventions have been shown to decrease the number of health conditions with which employees may suffer. This, in turn, offers employers a means to combat the effects of presenteeism and provide a numbers of health and professional benefits to the workforce and thereby the company at large.
Such interventions can include on-site chair massage, manual therapy, health assessments, DSE (Display Screen Equipment) workstation assessments, team building days and office environment enhancements.
These benefits can include:
- Improvements in staff health and energy levels, therefore increasing focus and performance levels.
- Improving staff morale, retention and thereby reducing retraining costs.
- Staff energy and focus levels, increasing performance and productivity
- Office morale
- Employer/employee relationships
- Retraining costs
- Staff illness
Because these benefits are delivered in a personal, individual format they promote a feeling of value and acknowledgement among the workforce. In the context of presenteeism they are a valuable tool in correcting existing issues and preventing future conditions which may effect employees.
For more information on how Office Osteopaths can help to rejuvenate your workplace please call 0118 380 0385 or email contact@localhost/officeosteopaths[/fusion_text][title size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]
By William Zylstra, MOst