Overcoming Presenteeism – An Unacknowledged Contributor to An Under-Performing Workforce

Laura Novakowski  -  Dec 07, 2011  -  Comments Off on Overcoming Presenteeism – An Unacknowledged Contributor to An Under-Performing Workforce

In 2004, Cornell University’s Institute for Health and  Productivity Studies (IHPS) conducted a study that offered an estimate that “companies’ on-the-job productivity losses from  presenteeism are possibly as high as 60 percent of the total cost of worker  illness — exceeding the costs of absenteeism and medical and disability    benefits.”

The term presenteeism was coined by Cary Cooper, a professor of   organizational psychology and health at Manchester University, UK. Cooper used  presenteeism  to describe the overwork and feelings of job insecurity resulting from downsizing and restructuring in the 1990s.  It has continued to be used to mean putting in excessive work hours as a perverse expression of commitment or a way of coping with nagging job insecurity; and to describe workers who remain on the job but who are not as productive as usual due to stress, depression, injury, illness or something as simple as a migraine headache.”

What does all this mean to your company? 

The impact of presenteeism gone unchecked results in:

  •   exorbitant costs
  •  ineffective work team
  •  inability to attain key  business  objectives.

How can you as employers staunch the outflow of  dollars and productivity lost as a result of  presenteeism?

  1. Analyze the workplace environment
  2. Identify the greatest areas of concern
  3. Prioritize and select one area to address
  4. Create a plan of action to assist employees in   managing their ability to cope with physical, mental and   psychological challenges

Taking measures to increase awareness of what constitutes presenteeism and it’s impacts on business results is key.  Taking proactive steps to assist employees to deal with work and life challenges is essential to business success.  Ultimately, overcoming presenteeism will help you to build a high performing workforce that benefits both you and your employees.

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