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“Presenteeism” accounts for
about $200 billion each year,
or about 5% to 12% of total
productivity each year.
By Len Strazewski
ARE YOUR EMPLOYEES “THERE”?
“Presenteeism” is being fueled by the current economic crisis
“P resent but not accounted for.”
Every ofﬁce has them and human resource
managers hate them—employees who show up for
registered nurses who can offer general health
tips. These services are woefully underused and
ill-promoted by employers and sometimes
work but who are generally unproductive because shunned by employees who fear that their
personal issues, family problems or economic private health concerns will become part of their
concerns distract them. employment record.
According to a 2009 study by Mental Health However, employees suffering from headaches
America in Alexandria, Virginia, “presenteeism” at their desks or wondering why their energy
accounts for about $200 billion each year, or about drops so quickly after lunch might ﬁnd some
5% to 12% of total annual productivity. Some of the comfort in health coach guidance and stress
lost productivity is also driven by clinical management tips. Or they may be directed to
depression which has been on the rise since the blood pressure or diabetes testing to diagnose an
recession, the association says. energy-sapping chronic illness.
Employee beneﬁts producers often get an earful Disease management programs, offered to
from their clients about productivity management employees who have been diagnosed, can provide
issues but usually have little to offer in support as more advanced coaching and periodic check-ins that
they grapple with the greater issues of health care keep workers on a healthy and productive path.
costs. But there are employee beneﬁts products Health coaches can also guide employees into
that producers can suggest—products that provide various wellness services, including smoking
some remedies for employers and help for cessation, weight-loss and nutrition education that
struggling employees. can boost energy and improve job productivity.
These products target employees with health
concerns that can disrupt their productivity,
personal issues that can distract them from
efﬁciency, family crises that can take much time to Employee Assistance Programs are also
resolve and age-linked retirement fears. underused beneﬁts that often come as part of
health plans. They are inexpensive and can be
purchased separately for a few dollars per month