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The Real Cost of Presenteeism

Last year the Stevenson/Farmer report revealed the growing cost of mental health in the workplace. A shocking £33bn – £42bn is being spent every year in UK businesses, a figure that will continue to rise unless we, as business owners, step up and do something about it!

What’s more shocking is that more than half of that cost is due to presenteeism. This is a message we try to get across to our clients daily that the cost of mental health isn’t just down to sickness and staff retention, it’s mainly down to the productivity levels whilst that employee is at work.

Now let’s take a minute to digest that. An employee is costing you more by being in the workplace than they would if they called in sick

Now I’m by no means advocating that we should be encouraging sickness, exactly the opposite. If we get it right in house, there should be no reason for people to go off sick in the first place.

So, let’s look specifically at presenteeism and what it means.

When an employee is suffering with a mental health illness, they are likely to be less productive. There are many reasons for this. It could be that they are trying to hide their feelings from their managers and colleagues or it could be that they just aren’t coping on a daily basis..

The problem is, presenteeism doesn’t just affect one person. It can affect a whole team of people. A lack of productivity will naturally have an impact on those around them which in turn affects motivation.

So, what can you do about it?

The thing is, employers really need to open their minds to change. Until we start treating mental illness in the same way as we would a physical illness, businesses are going to continue to allow their profits to drain unnecessarily.

The Stevenson/Farmer report carried out a survey on 200 businesses. The results showed that if a company invests money in to training and support in this area, the return is likely to be huge. In fact, a figure was put to that statement. For every £1 an employer spends on training, they could gain a return of up to £9.98. Now I’m not great at maths but does that not equal a 900% return?

By investing in training for managers and staff alike; by creating an environment of empathy and understanding, a company’s productivity levels are likely to soar!!!

Now I’m not sure if it’s just me but doesn’t that say that mental health sufferers aren’t the one’s who are a drain on revenue, but it is in fact the employers who won’t invest?

Food for thought??

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