We came across an early (2002) article that provides some good quantitative data on presenteeism costs at one of America's best known companies. When aches, pains and sniffles get translated into dollars, people take notice.
Benefitnews.com - Information for HR and Benefit Directors and other Employee Benefit Plan Sponsors and Advisers
: "Pitney Bowes enlisted the assistance of the Center for Work and Health to conduct a productivity audit to find the cost drain. Company officials were shocked to see they'd lost $51.7 million (the equivalent of 1,477 full-time employees) annually in lost production time due to conditions commonly associated with presenteeism, including nearly $10 million associated with cold and flu alone. Other conditions included headache, back pain, fatigue and gastrointestinal illness.
'Obviously, these were not the typical diseases targeted by disease management programs, because they weren't ones we could target with claims data,' Berman says. 'Still, these employees were there but not productive, so we had to find a way to manage the costs.' Research shows the average U.S. employee loses 115 productive hours each year to health conditions, costing employers an estimated $2,000 per worker per year. "