Sunday, August 29, 2004

Should that is.

Why the Boss Wants You to Call in Sick Sick employees should take to their beds and stay away from their desks. And if their bosses have any sense, they'll encourage them to remain home until they are well. Why? Each worker who comes in to the office sick costs the employer an average of $255 each per year, reports The Associated Press of a new study by Cornell University labor researchers. That totals some $180 billion in lost productivity every year.
Sick employees are not productive employees. They have difficulty concentrating, they work more slowly, and they often have to repeat tasks. In addition, they can get their co-workers sick, but the price tag of bringing down the rest of the office was not counted in this study, which examined the effect of colds, the flu, headaches, allergies, arthritis, heart disease, asthma, and cancer.
There's a word for this: "presenteeism." You're there, but you're not functioning well. "The study doesn't mean people should stay home sick at every sniffle," Ron Goetzel, director of Cornell's Institute for Health and Productivity Studies in Washington, D.C., told Reuters. "It says this is a very large category of expenses, even exceeding the costs of absenteeism and medical and disability benefits, and part of the problem is that employers have not yet fully recognized the financial impact it can have on their business.This is the first study to count the cost of on-the-job productivity losses from common health problems to an employer's total health-related expenses. On average, that adds up to about 61 percent of an employee's total medical and lost-productivity costs. The research findings were published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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