Although the phenomenon of presenteeism is a relatively new field of study, employers are well aware of the effects that employee health can have on their bottom line. A new Productivity Insight white paper from Standard Insurance Company (“The Standard”), entitled Productivity Insight #3: Understanding Presenteeism, addresses ways employers and their benefits advisers can improve workplace productivity by learning more about presenteeism — the decline in workplace productivity due to a medical condition — and how to address it.
“In this recovering economy, employers and their workforces are faced with the prospect of doing more with less, which is stretching employees to their limits,” said Michael Klachefsky, national practice leader, Workplace Possibilities℠ for The Standard. “The result of this workplace pressure can be an employee at work with, or developing, a medical condition — either mental or physical — that causes a decline in productivity.”
Unlike pharmaceutical and medical costs, presenteeism is very difficult to measure. Although benefits experts have focused primarily on methods of improving health as a solution to presenteeism, the health improvement approach is difficult because of the time it takes to create measurable progress.
To help employers counter the effects of presenteeism, The Standard has outlined five effective solutions in this white paper:
- Working with a disability carrier that provides on-site assistance to help employees with a personal, face-to-face approach.
- Ensuring the disability carrier provides quick and effective ergonomic interventions that can provide employees with equipment to improve their productivity.
- Improving employer pharmacy programs to reduce the effects of medical conditions that can contribute to lost productivity.
- Integrating a company’s health management programs.
- Targeting high-risk as well as low- to medium-risk workers with health management programs such as wellness initiatives, employee assistance plans and disease management.