What is Presenteeism?
Presenteeism is one of those words that is listed with other positive expected outcomes of health and wellbeing programs and employee engagement. It can be defined as being physically on the job, but we are either physically ill or mentally preoccupied due to stress.
When an employee is present but not fully engaged in their work, lack of focus, safety issues, and lost productivity are all at risk. In certain industries, this can lead to potential injury to oneself or others. Studies show that healthy individuals are more alert and able to respond more quickly to unexpected events, thus making them less likely to be injured. If they do sustain an injury on the job, a healthy person recovers more quickly.
Traditional wellness programs address lifestyle changes that can be made to positively impact a person’s current and long-term health. Believe it or not, these same everyday behaviors can positively impact a person’s alertness, productivity, and safety at work.
- Movement – At least 30 minutes of physical activity per day is not only good for one’s heart health, but also helps with alertness and focus. Create opportunities and support for employees to move throughout their workday.
- Healthy food choices – Processed and sugary foods create a feeling of sluggishness and contributes to inflammation, obesity, and a variety of other chronic conditions. Ensure that when you’re serving food to your employees, at meetings or in vending machines, that they have access to healthy fruits and vegetables and other nutrient-rich foods.
- Water intake – Dehydration leads to decreased brain function and elevated blood pressures and heart rates. Provide water stations and eliminate the sugary beverages in your workplace.
- Tobacco – Tobacco impacts a person’s overall health and plays a big role in presenteeism. Review your tobacco policy and make changes to your wellness program offerings to help people eliminate tobacco use.
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