Five tips for managing presenteeism

The Standard

Presenteeism — the practice of coming to work despite having a medical condition — is a relatively new area of study. However, with the current economy pushing employers to do more with less, it’s an important challenge that needs to be addressed, as less productive workforces are also less profitable.

In fact, the Integrated Benefits Institute recently reported that 39 percent of health costs in the United States — or $227 billion — is due to lost productivity.1

Employers can work to reduce presenteeism costs with these five solutions:

  1. Work with a disability carrier that provides on-site assistance to help employees with a personal, face-to-face approach. A personal and face-to-face approach is key for managing presenteeism.
  2. Ensure the disability carrier provides quick and effective ergonomic interventions that can provide employees with equipment to improve their productivity. This equipment can range from lumbar supportive chairs and ergonomic keyboards to assistive lifting devices and monitor magnification tools.
  3. Improve employer pharmacy programs to reduce the effects of medical conditions that can contribute to lost productivity. Studies have shown that productivity can improve significantly with appropriate drug treatments.2
  4. Work with a disability carrier that will integrate with your company’s health management programs. This will allow you to more proactively identify employees who are struggling at work as the result of medical conditions.
  5. Target high-risk as well as low- to medium-risk workers with health management programs such as wellness initiatives, employee assistance plans and disease management.

A proactive approach can help to reduce the financial effects of presenteeism on your company. For more information about the cost of presenteeism and ways to address this lost productivity, download the Productivity Insight #3: Understanding Presenteeism white paper.


1Integrated Benefits Institute. Poor Health Costs U.S. Economy $576 Billion. IBI Pulse. October 2012.

2Schulz AB, Edington DW. Employee Health and Presenteeism: A Systematic Review. J of Occup Rehabil. 2007;17(3):547-579.

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