A reduction in sickness absence is not always a good thing…
In a recent article on the Guardian Online Professor Gary Johns highlights the fact presenteeism is a much worse problem than absenteeism. He says, "There is considerable agreement across studies that presenteeism accounts for more aggregate productivity loss than absenteeism."
I agree with Professor Gary Johns. Yes, we need to reduce sickness absence but if staff are simply coming into work to show their face then the numbers are deceiving. Whilst on the face of it there maybe a reduction is sickness absence productivity may not have improved, in fact it could have got worse. And it is this that we need to be focusing on because it is quality and high productivity that will create a successful business not an extra person sitting at a desk.
This is not to say stop monitoring sickness absence but as employers we also need to be proactive in our approach to employee wellbeing, offering a range of initiatives to educate staff and really help them improve their health and energy. This is what will ultimately lead to staff performing at their best and increased productivity.
So it is simple really – a healthy energised workforce results in improved productivity and reduced absence. And it is the organisations that get this and are being proactive in their approach to employee wellbeing that will succeed. They are the innovators that are investing in the health and energy of their staff, making employee wellbeing part of their organisational culture, and in turn creating a much more resilient workforce.