Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Presenteeism Down Under

After we began our poll (see right column), we began to look for other survey work on our topic around the world. It appears that last year, the Sidney Morning Herald asked its readers, "how bad is presenteeism for you?" and found 37% of those responding identifying it as a serious problem, and 37% more citing it as an occasional problem.

In a place that has been described as "the land of the long weekend," it appears that things are changing in the workplace. And the fact that people are showing up, but doing little is seen as a serious problem. - The Sydney Morning Herald

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Hidden Costs of Depression

As we've long suspected, work environments that fail to recognize (or which may actually contribute to) employee depression cost employers big bucks in the long run. - Information for HR and Benefit Directors and other Employee Benefit Plan Sponsors and Advisers: "some of the highest costs related to depression are the indirect costs, primary among them productivity losses. Based on the Work Loss Data Institute Official Disability Guidelines, an employee case of depression could result in two to three weeks of lost work time or $1,500 per case per year at an average daily wage. But this undoubtedly understates the productivity costs since with a disease like depression, the real problem is 'presenteeism' - people at work but limited in their ability to produce or participate - the costs of which are difficult to measure."

Pitney Bowes Indicates Annual Presenteeism Costs Exceed $51 Million

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. - 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. "

Yes, they are all here, but in the bathroom, it appears.

According to a recent article in The New York Times Magazine, the "gut reaction" of a workforce to stressful conditions at home or at work can really sap productivity.

The New York Times > Magazine > Presenteeism: "The bank Comerica, for instance, sponsored an in-house health study that determined that at least 10 percent of its workforce of 10,919 suffered from irritable bowel syndrome and that the condition reduced on-the-job productivity by approximately 20 percent. ''People show up for work, but with the pain -- not to mention frequent trips to the bathroom -- they're just not very productive,'' a Comerica vice president said in an article in the October issue of Harvard Business Review. In response, Comerica sponsored a series of hourlong sessions with a gastroenterologist for its employees. "

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Renewed Employment Confidence - Good News or Bad for America's Employers

According to our friend, Roy Krause, Spherion president and chief executive officer, there is both good news and bad news for employers in their recent findings regarding employment optimism among those in today's workforce.

Spherion: "If personal confidence remains high and confidence in the economy and job market continues to rise, employers must keep a close eye on the job transition index, as workers may be more apt to make a job change. The combination of a strong job market and a desire for job change could create serious turnover issues for employers that have not focused on retaining their workforce during the past few years.'"

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Search for New Employment May Be Behind Increased Presenteeism

Although much of the recent literature has pointed to "reporting to work while ill" as the prime culprit in presenteeism, there are many indications that general dissatisfaction with the work situation may be a major contributor. Given the number of people who are looking for new employment, losses in productivity attributable to copy center time (printing new resumes) or online job search may be on the rise.

According to the 2004 U.S. Job Recovery and Retention Survey by the Society for Human Resource Management and Thirty-eight percent of surveyed human resource (HR) professionals say they have noticed an increase in turnover since the beginning of 2004. It also finds that 75 percent of all employees are looking for new employment opportunities, and that top three reasons employees give are better compensation elsewhere (43%), better career opportunities (32%), and dissatisfaction with opportunities at current job (22%).

Reported in Internet Recruiting Industry News - December 2, 2004