The Hidden Toll of Absenteeism and Presenteeism: A Holistic Approach With HealthNow

Absenteeism and presenteeism are often discussed in terms of their impact on businesses, but the true cost extends far beyond the workplace. Absenteeism not only keeps employees away from work but can also have profound effects on their mental and physical well-being.

Absenteeism: The Bigger Picture

In New Zealand, absenteeism due to health issues sees approximately 1.4 million sick days taken each month. These absences can have a profound impact on employees’ mental and physical well-being. High levels of absenteeism often lead to feelings of guilt and inadequacy, particularly among those who value their attendance record. According to a study conducted by the NZ Mental Health Foundation, absenteeism can exacerbate stress levels, contributing to mental health challenges. This emotional toll can extend into the home, impacting relationships with family and loved ones.

Persistent absenteeism may also be a sign of underlying physical health problems. For instance, prolonged sick leave could be an indicator of chronic health issues that limit mobility. In such cases, individuals may struggle with everyday tasks, like preparing meals, and resort to ordering takeout, which can further impair their health.

Presenteeism: Suffering in Silence

Presenteeism can be equally, if not more, detrimental. Employees who push themselves to work while unwell experience immense mental and emotional strain. In New Zealand and Australia, this issue is more prevalent than many realise, with many employees often choosing to work through their illnesses, fearing the consequences of taking a sick day. This pressure to perform at work while unwell can lead to emotional exhaustion and, over time, contribute to burnout. The emotional toll from presenteeism can strain personal relationships and affect family life.

The Family Impact: The Ripple Effect

Absenteeism takes a significant toll on family life. When a family member is unable to work due to illness, it can create financial strain, especially when sick leave days are exhausted. This financial burden often extends to the family, affecting their quality of life.

In the context of New Zealand and Australia, where single-parent households are not uncommon, managing absenteeism can be particularly challenging. When a single parent falls ill and is forced to miss work, it disrupts not only their income but also the routines of their children. This can create a juggling act of responsibilities and priorities, leaving parents torn between their job and their family’s well-being.

Presenteeism, too, poses unique challenges. When an employee continues to work while unwell, their family witnesses the toll it takes. Increased irritability, fatigue, and reduced quality of life can lead to strained relationships and decreased quality time spent with family members. In a world where maintaining a work-life balance is paramount, the effects of presenteeism on family dynamics can be profound.

Addressing absenteeism and presenteeism goes beyond the workplace. It’s a holistic approach that benefits not only employees but also their families and, ultimately, the society at large. This is where comprehensive health and well-being programs, like HealthNow, come into play, providing the support needed to break the cycle of absenteeism and presenteeism. By offering employees the resources and assistance to prioritise their health, these programs not only improve employee well-being but also strengthen the bonds within families and promote healthier communities.

HealthNow: A Comprehensive And Holistic Solution

Employers who choose to incorporate HealthNow into their benefits package make a meaningful commitment to addressing absenteeism and presenteeism while providing comprehensive support for their employees’ physical and mental health. HealthNow offers:

Timely Healthcare Access For All Employees

Where financial strain may have prevented or delayed accessing necessary healthcare services, HealthNow offers funds that are ready and waiting on your employee’s dedicated HealthNow cards, available to be used on healthcare services within the sectors you approve. This timely access means that problems can get addressed in their early stages where possible, before they start contributing to notable absenteeism or presenteeism. 

Illness Prevention Measures

In addition to addressing absenteeism and presenteeism, HealthNow encourages preventative measures to be taken by enabling employees to book in for services that have preventative benefits, and not just medical services that respond to current problems as per the “ambulance at the bottom of the cliff” approach. For instance, regular health assessments and screenings in services such as dentistry or molemaps can identify potential health issues before they become debilitating, helping employees maintain their well-being. By offering these services as part of their benefits package, employers show a commitment to keeping their workforce healthy and productive.

Promoting Work-Life Balance

Employers who provide HealthNow are also promoting work-life balance. The location flexibility available through HealthNow, which allows employees to choose their preferred clinics across New Zealand and Australia’, can help employees manage their health without impeding their work obligations. This balance between work and health is crucial in reducing the emotional strain associated with presenteeism, as employees can address health concerns without compromising their professional commitments.

Family Benefits

Alongside offering the HealthNow funds to be used by employees, employers have the power to choose to extend these benefits to the immediate family, recognising the connection between an employee’s family’s health and their own well-being and happiness. Again, this is another way that HealthNow helps employees feel more supported.

Fostering Employee Loyalty

Ultimately, by offering HealthNow, employers send a clear message to their employees: we care about your well-being. This not only reduces the emotional toll associated with absenteeism and presenteeism but also fosters a sense of loyalty among employees. Knowing that their employer values their health and happiness, employees are more likely to remain committed to the company and engage fully in their roles. This commitment can help in a company’s efforts to reduce staff turnover, a vital aspect of addressing the financial implications of absenteeism and presenteeism.

Simply put, incorporating HealthNow into a benefits package is a comprehensive solution to the challenges of absenteeism and presenteeism. It promotes physical and mental well-being, fosters a healthier work-life balance, and strengthens the bonds between employers and their workforce. Choosing HealthNow demonstrates an employer’s commitment to a healthier, happier, and more productive workforce.

Getting Started With HealthNow

Getting started with HealthNow so you can start reaping the benefits for your organisation and your employees is made incredibly simple and easy – just input your information here, whether you’re keen to learn more and get started. We can set you up with a demo, answer any questions, and help tailor a solution that’s best for you.

You can also read more about the power and importance of offering the right employee benefits in today’s job market, including how it can help differentiate you as an employer of choice, in our comprehensive 2023 Employer Market Report here.

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