‘Absenteeism’ is easy to define and measure and it’s no secret that it’s a huge cost to business. ‘Presenteeism’, on the other hand, is when staff turn up but aren’t working to capacity, and it’s not so easy to measure.
How big is the problem?
Statistics vary but US estimates place the annual cost to employers as being around $150 to $250 billion. The Harvard Business Review’s Paul Kemp discussed the issue in his article ‘Presenteeism: At Work – But Out of It’.
“Researchers say that presenteeism is much costlier problem than its productivity-reducing counterpart, absenteeism.”
Unlike absenteeism, presenteeism isn’t always apparent: You know when someone doesn’t show up for work, but it is harder to measure when—or how much—someone’s performance is impacting the business.”
How to get the wheels turning again
Underperformance is not normally deliberate. Most people appreciate constructive feedback and want be proud of their work. Studies suggest taking a broad approach is the best way to address productivity issues in the long term.
Talk yo your staff and find out what’s worrying them and show genuine concern. If it’s a personal issue, time off may help, or you could explore other avenues of support together. Consider flexible arrangements that allow staff to work from home or work different hours.
The best workplaces are happy ones. When morale is high people are more engaged in their work, are more likely to show initiative and productivity increases.
This doesn’t just happen. It occurs when positive company values are reflected in every decision from the ground up.
Sporting clubs have the right idea. The common goal is to win more games so the clubs actively invest in the mental and physical health of the athletes, and everyone benefits.
Other organizations are no different. Investing appropriately in the well-being of employees and ensuring you are working towards common goals will reap many rewards for all.