The very real problem of Presenteeism

Another fascinating read from corporate wellness experts Unmind this month, with an article by Sam Musguin-Rowe, all about the cost implications and financial losses companies face when they ignore the very real problem of PRESENTEEISM – defined as “the lost productivity that occurs when employees are not fully functioning in the workplace because of an illness, injury, or other condition”

It appears that Presenteeism is causing a much bigger issue than in pre-pandemic times, when good Leaders could easily spot workplace unwellness and send their staff member home. However, in the post-Covid era, with so many of us adopting a hybrid approach to work or remaining fully remote, we’re often relying on our staff member to admit to struggling to fully function because of physical or emotional ill-health and therefore, risk the chances of on-the-job mistakes being made &/or poor performance in their role, if they’re working from home.

Indeed, if you’re a Leader, you’ll know only too well the challenges that a hybrid or remote way of working presents to YOU, as you navigate trying to balance the whole work-life physical space, let alone separating the need to truly take time out if you’re at home and not quite feeling yourself, given you probably never took time out when you were in the workplace full time and feeling under the weather, am I right!?

According to Unmind’s latest research, conducted in collaboration with the University of Sussex, Presenteeism is costing organisations between £3,900 and £5,000 PER EMPLOYEE every year!

Yet in two recent randomised control trials (RCTs), where the impact of two very common wellness issues (namely, low mood / depression and poor sleep) were measured, using Unmind’s platform content around workplace wellbeing, the results were quite staggering…

Those organisations benefiting from Unmind’s methodology to tackle depressive symptoms, saw Presenteeism fall by 12.3%, which equates to an average weekly saving of £75.22 and an even more impressive saving of £97.10 per week for those using Unmind to tackle the issue of poor sleep, where Presenteeism dropped by 16.5%.

So, across the year, businesses can save £3,912 per employee by tackling low mood / mental ill-health and £5,049 per employee by tackling the issue of poor sleep / extreme tiredness.
Definitely worth considering, wouldn’t you agree!?

If you’re not familiar with Unmind, a corporate wellness organisation wholly focused on creating positive, healthy cultural change from the inside-out, through their wellbeing-centred training platform, then go check out their website for further information:

I’ve no vested interest in Unmind, just so you know, other than I’m fascinated with their philosophy and the science-backed research they carry out, identifying ways to create long-lasting cultural change in the workplace, that results in happier staff AND happier customers – and you all know how obsessed I am about those two particular topics!

Their CEO, Dr Nick Taylor has a great back-story too – working as a lead clinical psychologist in the NHS in 2015, Nick faced daily challenges of managing presenteeism, along with the normal management issues faced when leading a highly pressured frontline workforce. Determined to find a solution, Nick discovered that, by combining clinical science with corporate wellness, organisations could help their teams to proactively nurture their own mental health and in turn, boost productivity.

So, what started out as a strategy for supporting NHS workers became a compelling business case for helping companies across the world drive real cultural change around workplace wellbeing and the rest, as they say, is history!

Massive respect Dr Nick et al.

Enhancing our employees’ wellbeing in the workplace has never been as important as it is in this post-pandemic era, given the extreme challenges of the last 2.5 years.

So, it makes total sense to focus on ways to improve our peoples’ emotional health and wellbeing, when we consider that happy staff are more productive – up to 37% more productive at Google in fact, according to research by the University of Warwick) and 13% more productive in general, AND contribute significantly to enhanced CSAT scores and NPS ratings, proving that happy staff really do = happy customers!

Remember – out of sight CAN be out of mind, so if you are operating a hybrid or fully remote working model at this time, make sure you’re properly checking in with your people (and yourself!!!) at regular intervals, to ensure that they / you are not just marching on like brave and loyal soldiers, suffering the negative effects the issues of Presenteeism can cause.

There’ll be no medals for playing the martyr and no golden ticket for suffering in silence.

Presenteeism COSTS businesses and there are huge SAVINGS to be made by ensuring you and your colleagues pay attention to both the damage that can be done (to your employer as well as to YOU) if you don’t heed the warnings of this post-pandemic issue AND the fantastic benefits you (and the organisation) can derive, if you do!

Hello... I'm Marie Cross

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