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The Presenteeism Culture: What is it Doing to Your Business?

Sick for work

Whether it be a cold or a headache; at some point in our lives we’ve all dragged ourselves out of bed and soldiered on into the office feeling like a hero. However, studies have shown that this presenteeism culture is not only negatively affecting the health and wellbeing of workers, but its estimated economic impact on businesses is almost four times the cost of absenteeism. Yet with businesses under pressure to be more profitable than ever before, how can you ensure you have an active, positive and productive workforce? 

Presenteeism and Management

The first step is understanding that presenteeism is not isolated to just workers; but rather affects every member of the team, particularly those in leadership positions who often carry higher levels of stress and work longer hours. Most people in a leadership team, when by themselves, will admit that they often lack concentration, feel that stress affects their ability at work, and tend to rely on caffeine, food or alcohol to cope. With this type of driver, it’s a no-brainer that this won’t yield the same results that businesses like Google and Apple get. 

Impacts of an Unhealthy Workplace

Just like one ‘bad apple’ can spoil the whole barrel, when a person is struggling in the workplace it affects the entire team. If one person is not pulling their weight due to poor health, it often creates a toxic environment and annoys other staff who feel like they’re picking up the workload. A corporate health plan is useful in pinpointing why staff may be underperforming and identifying specific strategies tailored to your business that can be implemented to address this. 

The Importance of a Corporate Health Strategy

Whilst there is still value in typical mental health services that employ coping strategies and counselling sessions, for many businesses this becomes too costly, and often takes employees away from their work for too long. A corporate strategy instead focuses on the overall productivity, capability and health of employees whilst at work and home and ensures greater profitability and workplace culture for the company. The goal of a corporate health strategy is to find key areas of improvement needed to ensure the health and wellbeing of staff. Once you’ve identified the key of or improvement, you can offer either an individualised or group plan to help your employees get back on track.  It’s important to cultivate a workplace culture that promotes wellbeing and helps identify the signs of employee burnout before they become worse. A business without a corporate health strategy is like driving your car with the accelerator slammed on but neglecting to remove the handbrake. At the end of the day, nothing determines business success (or failure) more than workplace culture. So, if you’re not looking at corporate health, then you’re not thinking with strategy. 

James Jensen

James Jensen

James Jensen is the Managing Director and Head Practitioner at Australian Nutrition Centre, specialising in treating the ‘root cause’ rather than the symptoms. He is available to consult to organisations for corporate health plans.