Friday, January 26, 2007

"Presenteeism" afflicts business, experts say - Yahoo! News

"Presenteeism" afflicts business, experts say - Yahoo! News
: "NEW YORK, Jan 26 (Reuters Life!) - Practically every workplace has one -- the employee who comes to the job aching, coughing and sneezing.

So-called 'presenteeism,' or going to work when sick, is a persistent problem at more than half of U.S. workplaces and costs U.S. business a whopping $180 billion a year, research shows.

Like its more notorious counterpart absenteeism, it takes on growing importance as employers try to keep an eye on productivity and the bottom line, experts say.

'Employers are increasingly concerned about the threat that sick employees pose in the workplace,' said Brett Gorovsky, an analyst at CCH, a Riverwoods, Illinois-based provider of business and corporate law information and a division of Wolters Kluwer.

'Presenteeism can take a very real hit on the bottom line, although it is often unrecognized,' he said.

Recognition of the issue is growing, however, as CCH research shows 56 percent of human resource executives see presenteeism as a problem. That's up from 39 percent making the same complaint two years ago, Gorovsky said.

Presenteeism costs employers in terms of lowered productivity, prolonged illness by sick workers and the potential spread of illness to colleagues and customers, experts say.

Presenteeism can prove elusive to measure, unlike absenteeism, said Cheryl Koopman, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University and an expert on workplace stress and presenteeism."

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