Wednesday, May 12, 2004

An Emerging Workplace Problem

It’s 8:30 AM Monday morning in corporate America. Employees in cities and small towns across the country are filing into their offices, coffee in hand, ready to begin the work week. Or are they?

According to the March 2004 issue of Risk and Insurance, those people who show up for work, but who for one reason or another are not really engaged “due to outside factors that include chronic or episodic illness, distraction from family care needs, personal problems or other concerns,” are costing companies a bundle in terms of lost productivity. This workplace malady has a name. . .presenteeism.

And, the malady presenteeism has a cost. In the words of Dr. Wayne Burton, senior vice president and corporate medical director for BankOne, “Presenteeism has a major impact on a company's bottom line--more costly, some experts agree, than incidents of absenteeism. When you look at total costs, meaning direct and indirect costs to a corporation in terms of medical costs, absenteeism, short-term disability, long-term disability and presenteeism, our estimate is that presenteeism accounts for about three quarters of the total. The rest accounts for a little over one-quarter."

Uncovering presenteeism in the workplace, and providing clients the means to deal with its root causes before productivity slips is the business of Stress Directions, Inc. SDI has developed a methodology for quickly assessing, isolating and measuring the potential cost of presenteeism, based on its foundation tool, the Personal Stress Navigator®. Beginning this year, SDI is offering a series of certification workshops for business consultants who wish to incorporate this tool in their practice.

For more information on presenteeism, its impact on the workplace and the SDI solution portfolio, visit