Engagement In 2007 Econtech was commissioned by Medibank Private to identify the costs and impacts of presenteeism on the Australian workforce and economy (2011). What the report revealed was the cost of employees coming to work, but being less productive due to illness or health issues far outweighed the cost of employee absenteeism by as much as four times (2011). Four years on presenteeism continues to cost the National economy billions, making it clear presenteeism is a persistent problem that employees cannot ignore (2011), and a workplace practitioner needs to consider.
The productivity of employees is a core element to a company’s ability create returns (Prochaska et al. 2011). As productivity declines organisations struggle to maintain any profit and grow (2011). The Health Enhancement Research Organisation (HERO) estimate that employees physically at work but not performing to best, results in three times more productivity loss than employees who are not there at all (2014). Workplaces that embrace the resent research around reducing presenteeism can begin to experience gains in employee productivity but first they need to understand what the causes are and how to address those (2014).
Medibank identified four main causes of presenteeism (2011); unhealthy lifestyles, workers with illnesses going to work, allergies and asthma and poor life balance and high levels of job related stress. However presenteeism is not only connected to employee health behaviour and risks, but that a lack of employer efforts to support healthy behaviours also are a contributing factor (HERO, 2011).
The Health Enhancement Research Organisation believes that presenteeism is only going to become worse if the current trends are to continue (2011). Implementing an effective health management strategy that engages and supports employees would be a worthwhile and practical way to lower presentism (2011). As a wellness workplace practitioner encouraging companies to invest in strategies that create a more positive work environment for individuals to lower presenteeism would be paramount (Medibank 2011). Utilising current knowledge drawn from wellness philosophy and practices as well as the latest research to reduce presenteeism, giving companies a competitive advantage and employees a wellness program that is holistic in its approach (Prochaska et al. 2011).