Woody Allen was once quoted saying, “80 percent of success in life is simply showing up,” but new research on the benefits of a healthy workplace would prove otherwise. What many companies are referring to as the human energy crisis, its formal term is presenteeism. Otherwise known as working while sick, presenteeism is the hot-button topic of worldwide business, proven to be the culprit of productivity loss, revenue loss, and workplace inefficiency.
Presenteeism is estimated to cut an individual’s productivity by at least one-third by affecting an employee’s concentration and alertness, as well as speed and office interactions. Feeling fatigued at a desk or overworked at a building site is not only a safety risk, but also a financial casualty to the employer. Healthy employees are 3.1 times more productive, according to Rand Health, and being fully engaged in the workplace leads to better leadership, resilience and overall performance. The same research also shows that by reducing just one health risk, such as tobacco use or low physical activity, can increase productivity by 9 percent and absenteeism by 2 percent.
Lower Healthcare Costs
Employee absenteeism and compensation claims are often one of the reasons why employers are reluctant to increase healthcare privileges. Yet companies could start saving more than they spend by paying attention to “the distractible frame of mind.” Minute issues such as hay fever or stomach cramps that people take to work with them often go untreated and inevitably have indirect cost implications for employers. For example, lack of quality work, doing just enough to get by, and the speed it takes to finish tasks. A 2016 report by The Journal of the American Medical Association estimates that depression cost U.S. employers around $35 billion annually as a result of reduced performance at work.
Having a culture of health in a working environment offers a competitive advantage against other businesses by attracting and retaining the best talent. According to the Rand Health study, 87 percent of workers consider health benefits such as flexible work arrangements, and both short- and long-term disability act a top priority when deciding to move on or stay with a current employer. This is a crucial factor for employers to consider as the millennial workforce—a group notorious for focusing on workplace benefits that extend beyond salary and growth opportunities—makes up more than one-third of the U.S. workforce.
By paying attention to the core of their workforce and workplace health, businesses can create a double-sided coin that not only reaps in benefits, it creates a profile of a sustainable, approachable and highly competitive business. The employees are what holds a business together, and no one builds houses out of straw anymore.
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