Absence from work carries a significant price tag for companies, both financially and operationally.
In Ireland, the average cost for an employer is close to €600 per employee annually and in the UK employers can expect to allocate at least £500 per employee annually to cover absenteeism costs. Alarming statistics from the Office for National Statistics in the UK revealed a staggering 137 million working days were lost due to sickness or injury in the UK, equivalent to 4.3 days per worker. These numbers are consistent with what is seen in similar economies right across the world. For instance in Australia 5 percent of the total workforce is expected to be absent on any given day.
And preventable chronic illnesses as well as short term illnesses contribute significantly to this absenteeism. It is now well documented by the World Health Organisation as well as many lifestyle disease experts that a staggering 80% of chronic disease is preventable.
While the costs of illness related absenteeism are significant and can seriously hurt the bottom line of an organisation the issues are not exclusively cost related. They have a significant impact on both the physical and the mental health of the individual as well as an increased financial burden. There are other things to consider:
Low Employee Morale: Frequent absences can also negatively affect the remaining workforce, leading to decreased productivity and job satisfaction.
Management Frustration: Constantly managing absenteeism can strain management resources, diverting their attention from strategic goals.
Negative Customer Feedback: Employee absences can result in service delays or quality issues, leading to customer dissatisfaction.
Absences are multifactorial and include minor illness such as flu’s and gastrointestinal issues, stress, musculoskeletal issues as well as more serious illnesses such as cancer, heart diseases, diabetes and other metabolic related illnesses as well as mental health issues.
There are many solutions to combat absenteeism and addressing as many of them as possible will pay dividends in the long run.
A good work-life balance policy is important and employees should all be aware of that.
A really effective chronic disease prevention programme such as Ignition Go shows employees how they can feel so much better both physically and mentally.
It also serves as an effective way to communicate to employees that their overall well-being is just as important as their work performance. This matters a lot and holds great value.
In summary, absenteeism is a multifaceted challenge with significant financial and operational ramifications. Employers must proactively address this issue to safeguard both their bottom line and the well-being of their workforce