The three ‘isms’ costing your business money

Here, we learn about the importance of recognising Absenteeism, Presenteeism and Leaveism, so that businesses can proactively address them to reduce costs and support their workers

Absenteeism, Presenteeism and Leaveism are three major indicators of the overall health and productivity of a workforce, and all three are interconnected.

If the causes behind the three ‘isms’ are not addressed, it can also have serious consequences on your organisation’s effectiveness and its bottom line.

If overlooked and left unchecked, they can become an unnecessary drain on the organisation’s worker productivity and financial resources.

Problems related to stress, anxiety and depression account for almost half of all working days lost in the UK and it is estimated that employers pay £9 billion in sick pay and associated costs as a result. (1)

Poor employee wellbeing, which is associated with illness and mental health issues, is linked to increased levels of Absenteeism, Presenteeism and Leaveism. (2)

Employee wellbeing is important, as indicated by a recent survey which showed that 80% of organisations deem it central to their success in the next 12-18 months. (3)

Absenteeism is expensive

Absenteeism occurs when people are sick, injured, unwell or are unable to come to work due to circumstances such as bereavement.

The Office for National Statistics estimates that 141.4 million working days are lost due to sickness or injury in the UK, this is equivalent to 4.4 days per worker. (4)

Analysis published in January 2020 found that poor mental health alone costs UK employers up to £45bn each year, comprising £7bn in absence costs and up to £29bn in presenteeism costs. (5)

The silent sufferer that is Presenteeism

Presenteeism occurs when people go into work despite feeling unwell, either physically or mentally, and they are unable to give their best.

Findings from a survey of 26,393 employees and 130 businesses across the UK suggest that that the problem is a real one and that it is only getting worse.

It has been estimated that Presenteeism’s impact on productivity is 12 times higher than Absenteeism.

45% of UK workers have admitted they experienced Presenteeism in 2019, which is an increase of almost one-third from 2014 (29%). (6)

Similarly, Deloitte found that only 36% of UK employees were taking allocated time off when they experienced health issues, rather than calling in sick. (7)

However, just being physically present is not good for people or your business, when people come to work ill, they are at risk of exposing their co-workers to infection.

Leaveism is the new “always-on”

Closely linked to Presenteeism, Leaveism is a relatively new phenomenon where employees continue to work outside of office hours to complete their tasks as they are unwilling to switch off from their job. (8)

People will also misuse flexitime, annual leave, or rest days to cope with workloads and it is becoming increasingly common due to the technology that enables it.

A recent report by Deloitte found that 51% of UK employees were working outside contracted hours. (9)

While 63% of respondents to the CIPD’s recent Health and Well-Being at Work Survey said they had observed Leaveism being practised within their organisation, more worryingly, 55% said their organisation had taken no measures to address the issue. (10)

Unlike Absenteeism, Leaveism can be hard to identify or measure, employees often do not want to speak up or admit they are unable to complete their workload during allocated office hours due to concerns that such an admission could damage their work reputation.

With 64% of the global workforce facing high anxiety over their personal job security, it is likely Leaveism will be increasingly more difficult to address. (11)

However, Leaveism must be tackled. If people cannot disconnect or raise the issue, it can have a long-term negative impact on their wellbeing, morale, and mental health.

Organisations can, however, reduce these figures by actively engaging in a range of health and wellbeing initiatives in a consistent and cohesive way.

Early interventions produce higher ROI

When it comes to investing, loosening the human resource department’s purse strings can be a challenge as often organisations struggle to measure the impact of their employee wellbeing strategy or the ROI.

However, encouragingly, analysis by Deloitte found that for every £1 spent by employers on mental health interventions they get £5 back in reduced absence, Presenteeism and staff turnover. (12)

The same report observed that pre-emptive wellbeing interventions achieved higher returns than those that were brought in later when individuals were already struggling.

A recent workplace study found that 75% of organisations reported that such initiatives have had a positive impact on their people’s health. (13)

Organisations need to be proactive, take preventative measures, build employee resilience, and champion a culture change that supports and normalises employee wellbeing.

Modern dynamic employee engagement platforms, like Trickle, are a streamlined way for managers to interact with their teams in real-time and to understand how their people are doing.

Trickle enables managers to be more proactive and consistent when offering their people guidance and support.

Only 49% of employees felt comfortable talking directly to their line manager about mental health issues, according to a recent Business in the Community 2019 Mental Health at Work report. (14)

With its anonymity feature, Trickle offers workers an anonymous way in which they can raise concerns or seek support discreetly.

Solutions must be powered by real-time insights

Only by understanding the issues causing the aforementioned “isms” can an organisation hope to proactively address them.

With an interactive tool like Trickle, organisations can have a finger on the pulse of their operation to see how their people are really doing and respond more effectively.

Trickle’s dashboard metrics provide real-time insights and can highlight the issues that are most important to their people allowing for earlier interventions before problems arise.

This dynamic approach can create a mutually beneficial scenario for both the organisation and its people.

For the organisation, it will see a reduction in the three ‘isms’ and enjoy an increase in capacity, while its people will feel happier, healthier, more supported and ultimately more satisfied with their role.





Trickle Data Insights Limited


Please note: This is a commercial profile

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