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Absence & Presenteeism Cost Employers $645 Million Annually

April 14, 2023 from CTV News

According to Manulife’s Wellness Report, which estimated an average of 48 days missed per employee due to health-related difficulties in 2022, employee health is having a negative impact on workforce productivity.

Employers lose about $645 million a year due to employee presenteeism, or when workers show up for work but don’t actually do any work, according to Manulife. Compared to older age groups, workers between the ages of 18 and 24 have worse scores on measures of their financial, mental, and physical health, which is associated with higher productivity losses overall.

Manulife has been monitoring a drop in worker productivity since 2020 when workers missed an average of 40.8 days due to presenteeism or absenteeism. The information, which was gathered over three years and is based on surveys with 4,921 Canadian workers, revealed important markers for a deterioration in productivity at work, including poor sleep, poor diet, and growing financial anxiety.

“Poor sleep quality and poor physical health are associated with poor mental health at work,” the report stated.

For example, in 2022, 46% of the employees surveyed reported having at least one mental health incident related to their work, and 27% reported getting less than seven hours of sleep per night. These numbers are slightly better than in 2021 when 21% of employees reported getting less than seven hours, and in 2020, when 34% reported not getting enough sleep.

As for the survey, there is a correlation between smoking and sleeping less than the prescribed amount of hours every night and poorer mental, physical, and productivity. Additionally, 71% of workers in 2022 reported consuming fewer than five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, a marginal decrease from the average of 69% in 2021 and 68% in 2020.

Three-quarters of the employees exhibited three or more health-related risk factors that could be affecting their overall well-being and productivity, and up to forty percent of them reported engaging in less physical activity than the recommended 150 minutes per week.

Manulife also observed a large rise in economic anxiety, with 21% of workers expressing significant financial stress in 2022 as opposed to 14% in 2020 and 16% in 2021.

In 2022, 49% of the employees questioned said they felt lonely.

According to the Manulife analysis, these results suggest that improved physical and mental health indicators among employees lead to higher production.

Western Medical Assessments’ expertise lies in helping employers navigate the challenges of employee return to work, mitigating the costs associated with health-related productivity losses.


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