Studies show employee health and wellbeing impact engagement, productivity, workplace wellness, and overall business growth. Of the different reasons affecting employee engagement and productivity, absenteeism is one of the key reasons that can significantly be influenced by employee health and wellbeing.
A Goodman & Atkin study showed that employee absenteeism can have many negative consequences.
Apart from impacting employee wellness, it can affect their income levels, discipline, and job security. At the corporate level, it can lead to –
According to the CDC, absenteeism costs US employers around $225.8 billion per year for lost productivity, accounting for almost $1.685 per employee.
An SHRM study reported that unplanned absences caused a productivity loss of around 36.6%, whereas planned absences caused a 22.6% loss.
While there are many reasons for absenteeism at the workplace, health issues and sick leaves are the key reasons. A survey conducted in March 2021 reported that almost 73% of workers in different service-related occupations had a fixed number of days towards sick leaves every year, while only 69% of industrial workers had the same.
A CDC survey conducted from October 2015 to September 2021 studied health-related workplace absenteeism in US workers who were 18 years of age and above. Adults who worked for at least 35 hours a week were considered full-time workers. The workplace absenteeism rates were calculated for the full-time workers who worked for less than 35 hours a week due to ill health, injury, or any other health-related issue.
Seasonal Workplace Absenteeism Outcomes
In all study years, December and January seasons had high absenteeism due to flu, with January 2018 recording the highest absenteeism rate with almost 3% of the full-time workers not attending work. In the 2020 – 2021 season, December recorded the highest absenteeism with 2.66% of workers absent from work.
Age/Gender Wise Workplace Absenteeism Outcomes
The CDC study from October 2020 to September 2021 reported health-related workplace absenteeism based on age group. The study population in the age group of 65 years and above recorded the highest absenteeism in March 2021 with 4.77% being absent from work due to health-related issues. The 16 – 24 years group recorded the least absenteeism in the same period at 1.65%.
The same study also reported absenteeism rates based on gender. While the males and females in the study group reported similar trends for health-related absenteeism, females, in general, were more absent from work due to health issues. While the male workers reported the highest absenteeism during January 2021 with 2.45% staying off from work due to health issues, females recorded the highest absenteeism rates at 3% each in December 2020 and April 2021.
How Employee Wellness Programs Can Help With Health-Related Absenteeism?
Apart from the unhappy reasons, health-related issues are one of the leading reasons for workplace absenteeism. Companies implementing employee wellness programs are more likely to build a healthy workplace culture and have fewer health issues, reflecting lower health-related absenteeism rates. A study showed that organizations with corporate wellness programs are more likely to save an average of $5.82 for every dollar spent on well-designed workplace wellness programs due to lower absenteeism rates.
So, to ensure higher productivity, lower absenteeism, and reduced healthcare costs, implementing the right corporate wellness programs can be an effective solution.