Leadership + Management | By Tom Murphy,

Why Showing Up Isn’t Always Helpful

Just because an employee is physically in the office doesn’t mean that person is actively contributing. An employee who is sick, exhausted, distraught, or distracted can easily cause problems for you and your team.

Onsite doesn’t mean on task

Productivity was easy to measure when we only thought in terms of showing up. An employee was either at work or off work. Simple, right?

But today’s workplaces are more complex. Technology allows employees to keep up with work anytime, anywhere. And companies are starting to realize that just because employees are physically onsite doesn’t mean they’re being productive or efficient.

Measuring productivity in this new environment is tricky, and weighing the impact of presenteeism on overall company performance can be even more difficult. It’s been estimated that presenteeism costs companies somewhere between 150 and 250 billion dollars annually.

The good news is there are things you can do to address the issue of presenteeism in your workplace. Here are a few ways to get started:

Examine your org chart

Running lean is one thing, but if one person calling in sick means your business can’t function, that’s a big problem. And if your team is constantly overworked, they’re more likely to get sick or show up tired and/or distracted.

  • Have you gotten in the habit of leaving positions unfilled?
  • Are you constantly asking your current employees to take on more?

Skimping on staff may serve you well in the short term, but if you want a happy, healthy, and fully present workforce, you’ll need to make sure you have enough team members to take on everything you want to get done.

Provide (and encourage!) paid time off

Discouraging staff from staying home when they are sick may seem like a cost saving idea, but the reality of having a sick person at work is rarely productive or pleasant. It can also lead to a string of employees ending up sick instead of just one. Talk about lost productivity!

Foster a culture that supports health and wellness by encouraging employees to stay home when they are ill. When an employee calls in sick, express genuine concern for their wellbeing rather than demanding they get back to work as soon as possible.

Instead of separating out sick days and vacation days, consider moving to a paid time off policy that allows employees to be out for any reason. When employees have a bank of PTO to use as they wish, they can take time off to see a doctor for a preventative exam or stay home and rest before an illness intensifies.

Employees may also feel more comfortable about taking time off to address a family member’s illness, stay home with a sick child, care for an elderly parent, or resolve a personal issue that would otherwise hinder their in-office productivity.

Focus on employee wellbeing

Wellbeing means more than giving everyone a fitbit and calling it a day.

True wellbeing encompasses physical, mental, and financial health. Take a look at your overall approach to employee wellness. Is it just lip service or is it woven into your organizational culture?

  • Is your workplace culture positive and inviting or caustic and overbearing?
  • Are staff workloads manageable or is your team too run-down to perform?
  • What is your turnover like? Do your employees stick around, look for advancement, and refer their friends? Or do you need to install a revolving door?
  • Is your compensation structure competitive in your market and industry? Are you relieving financial stress for your employees, or are you adding to it?
  • Evaluate your current health insurance plan. Are high deductibles and co-pays discouraging employees from visiting the doctor for preventive care? Do you offer convenient solutions like online enrollment and Telehealth?
  • Do you have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in place to address mental health and stress concerns?

Committing to workplace wellbeing can be very good for business. Healthy employees have lover levels of absenteeism and presenteeism, and higher levels of engagement and retention. Companies who focus on happy, healthy workplaces will also have an advantage when it comes to recruiting talent.

So what are you waiting for? Start cultivating a company worth committing to, and a team that shows up for your business in all the right ways.

Recruiting and retaining employees is easier when you can proudly offer a comprehensive benefits plan that makes your team members feel as valuable as they are. At Sonus Benefits, we build cost effective, long-lasting employee benefits strategies to keep your business and your employees in optimum health.