At some point in our careers, we’ve all noticed a colleague or employee who continued to push through meetings to accommodate deadlines, all while displaying symptoms of a cold, flu, or other medical condition. However, since not all illnesses are visible, it can be difficult for employers and managers to determine if an employee is an underperformer or if illness may be negatively impacting an employee’s performance due to obligatory feelings to show up, despite not feeling well. This phenomenon of coming to work but being less productive is better known as presenteeism. In other words, it’s when employees still show up to work, as opposed to absenteeism, but they have lower levels of engagement.
Some of the most common reasons employees engage in presenteeism include fighting seemingly minor health concerns like seasonal allergies, asthma, headaches, back pain, arthritis, and gastrointestinal issues. Employees could also be facing mental health issues, like depression or anxiety. Employees often try to resolve these ailments independently instead of using their health plan to seek care from a medical professional.
According to ALM Benefits Pro, “Inability to pay for health care has been a major driver for many to avoid the health care system, but simply not being sure if a service is affordable is enough of a deterrent for many Americans.”
In addition to high health care costs, barriers to access to care, time constraints, guilt, and fear are also causing employees to be less present. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of employees who work remotely nationwide has increased. Some remote workers will still work from home even when experiencing ailments in fear that they may be perceived as lazy or be undervalued by their employers, increasing burnout to avoid being penalized.3 They may also feel guilty for taking a much-needed sick day since they work from the comfort of their homes. However, consistent burnout may lead to low morale, lack of perceived self-importance, and employee turnover.
Employees who have less presenteeism could make costly mistakes that may jeopardize their health and the well-being of others, and even stakeholder relationships due to psychological conditions that can impair judgment. So, how can an organization determine if an employee is not productive or simply not feeling well and better support them if it’s the latter? Does your organization have a work culture that contributes to presenteeism? If so, policies that promote this behavior may need to be adjusted or eliminated.
To stay competitive, employers must rethink ways to keep employees healthy with rising costs of health care, knowing that health is a factor in profitability. Comprehensive wellness initiatives, including affordable employer-sponsored health plans, can curb productivity loss and increase employee health and well-being.
Per the NLM, conditions with the highest estimated daily productivity loss and the annual cost per person were chronic back pain, mental illness, general anxiety, migraines or severe headaches, neck pain, and depression. Allergies and migraines or severe headaches had the highest estimated annual company cost.
These health issues may be resolved through preventative and continual care. By reducing concern over unexpected expenses and establishing a working environment that encourages employees to take time off to care for their health, employees will be more productive and engaged, reducing presenteeism. It is mutually beneficial for employees and employers to put health first, which is possible by partnering with an insurance plan that promotes employee well-being.
Curative is a health plan that employees and employers will love. Our plan focuses on affordability, engagement, and simplicity, so people feel confident getting the care they need, when they need it. Imagine—a health plan that actually delivers better health.
People shouldn’t avoid doctor visits out of fear of surprise medical bills. After completing a Baseline Visit in the first 120 days of joining Curative, one monthly premium will enable:
$0 out-of-pocket fees
$0 preferred prescriptions
$0 deductibles for in-network care.
Curative builds engagement with employees from day one by facilitating trusted relationships with a Baseline Visit and Care Navigator. Members will complete a Baseline Visit within 120 days of plan effective date to create an individualized, preventive care plan with a Curative Care Navigator to reach their health and wellness goals. We also ensure members are connected to our large and inclusive provider network.
Curative makes care management virtually stress-free. The Curative Pharmacy has a partnership with a national network of pharmacies and even offers same-day delivery (for select cities)*. Members can access virtual urgent care in partnership with NormanMD in less than 10 minutes via messaging, audio, or video chat.
No copays. No deductibles. No...really. Curative is changing the way we view health insurance with a health plan that actually delivers health.
1. Hart, W (2022). Lack of price transparency still keeping many from seeking health care, ALM BenefitsPro, https://www.benefitspro.com/2022/05/31/lack-of-price-transparency-still-keeping-many-from-seeking-health-care/?slreturn=20230612135211
2. Allen, D., Hines, E. W., Pazdernik, V., Konecny, L. T., & Breitenbach, E. (2017). Four-year review of presenteeism data among employees of a large United States health care system: a retrospective prevalence study. Human Resources for Health, 16. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12960-018-0321-9