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Tackling presenteeism at the workplace with employee benefits

The cost of absenteeism is widely known. In fact, unscheduled absenteeism can conservatively cost businesses USD 2,650 for every salaried employee per year. It’s the more camouflaged counterpart, however, that is harder to quantify. According to CIPD research, presenteeism costs twice that of absenteeism. Now, you might be asking, “But what exactly is presenteeism?”, and, “What can my company do to eliminate presenteeism?”. In today’s article, Pacific Prime’s team of corporate insurance experts answers these questions and further investigates how companies can tackle presenteeism with employee benefits.

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What exactly is presenteeism?

Presenteeism is an omnipresent issue affecting most businesses. Traditionally defined as a loss of productivity resulting from an employee coming into work despite being mentally or physically ill, the definition of presenteeism has broadened to include employees who are present at work but disengaged.

The leakage of productivity while an employee is present at work is inherently much more difficult to measure than absenteeism, including such phenomena as employees surreptitiously engaging in Twitter wars and staying at their desk on Pinterest while waiting for their manager to leave. In these scenarios, the employee is technically present, but nowhere near their expected level of competence.

Root causes

The causes of presenteeism can be very diverse, and some are not physically obvious at all. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of the root causes of presenteeism:

  • Personal issues
  • Issues with the workplace
  • Physical health problems
  • Mental health problems

Presenteeism is costing your business

Did you know? In the US, on-the-job productivity loss costs businesses almost USD 150 billion every year. In the UK, 27 days of productivity per employee are lost every year due to presenteeism. The real cost of presenteeism, however, exceeds lost money and working days. Alongside its direct impact on business’ balance sheets, presenteeism can also cause the following:

  • Low workplace morale
  • Illnesses get worse
  • Deterioration of business values
  • Lack of progress
  • Poor work quality
  • Increased safety issues
  • Unhealthy employees
  • Unpleasant workplace atmosphere
  • And more

How to tackle presenteeism with employee benefits

As can be seen from the above, presenteeism can be damaging. Properly tackling it will save your company money, as well as boost employee engagement, productivity, morale, and more.

Invest in employee wellness

Placing an emphasis on the health and wellbeing of your workplace will go a long way in demonstrating to your staff that your company cares about them, which will boost employee engagement and loyalty.

The best way to start off on the right foot when implementing an employee wellness program is to think about why you want one, what goals you want it to achieve, and how you want staff to engage with it. Read our article on creating the perfect wellness program to learn more.

If you already have a wellness program, re-examining your existing one with the help of an employee benefits specialist might allow you to adapt it to solve any new dilemmas your staff are facing and investigate the best solutions for tackling employee presenteeism.

Offer comprehensive group medical coverage

Offering comprehensive group health insurance is one of the most essential steps you can take to improve morale and reduce presenteeism. Rather than looking at group medical coverage as a business expense, view it as an important tool for increasing productivity in the workforce instead.

There’s a wide range of options available; coverage can be tweaked to include preventative care benefits, which is imperative for reducing presenteeism. The reason is clear: the earlier your employees are able to identify health conditions, the faster they can treat them, and hence the less likely they will be affected by their health condition(s) while working.

Another important aspect to consider is offering group medical coverage that includes mental health benefits. By providing health coverage that addresses the costs of outpatient mental health treatment, counselling, and more, employers can ensure that their valued staff are mentally healthy, and are never left feeling like they are left alone without the extra support they might need.

Check out our 5 tips on designing the right employee benefits plan to keep staff retention high.

Recognize the value of Employee Assistance Programs

Generally inexpensive and unobtrusive, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are worksite-based programs used by employers to help their staff resolve personal issues that have a negative impact on their productivity and performance. EAPs can offer a wide range of services, such as emergency intervention, care referral support, counselling and assessment services, and many more. When deciding on the right EAP provider, make sure they are aware that tackling presenteeism is something your company wants to achieve.

How Pacific Prime can help your business tackle presenteeism

As can be gathered from the above, implementing the right employee benefits is essential in tackling on-the-job productivity loss. To offer the best employee benefits for tackling presenteeism, partnering with a corporate insurance specialist, like Pacific Prime, can put you ahead of the rest by ensuring you get the most competitive benefits and wellness programs to fit the specific needs of your staff.

To get started with the world’s leading employee benefits broker, contact our team today. Alternatively, you can read our blog, or visit our guides page to learn more about group medical coverage and employee benefits.

Content Strategist at Pacific Prime
Jessica Lindeman is a Content Strategist at Pacific Prime. She comes to work every day living and breathing the motto of "simplifying insurance", and injects her unbridled enthusiasm for health and insurance related topics into every article and piece of content she creates for Pacific Prime.

When she's not typing away on her keyboard, she's reading poetry, fueling her insatiable wanderlust, getting her coffee fix, and perpetually browsing animal Instagram accounts.