The overwhelming majority of health-related productivity losses occur on the job from reduced performance by employees who show up for work not feeling their best. This is commonly known as presenteeism.
Presenteeism & the Importance of Wellness Programs
The implications and costs of presenteeism are enormous and can be highly disruptive. Integrating wellness strategies into a safety program can help combat the effects. Let’s look at a 4-step example by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Manitoba Division (Manitoba Model).
4 Steps to Take
- Get Workers’ Feedback
Have workers fill out a questionnaire to determine perceptions about their health, well-being, and what causes work-related stress. Respondents should remain anonymous, so they provide candid responses. (Click here for Model Questionnaire you can adapt.)
- Evaluate Feedback
Next, evaluate the results to identify problems that need to be addressed. For example, questionnaires might reveal a certain process is unusually stressful or fatiguing.
Prioritize the problems and decide when and how to address them. Let workers know when steps are taken to resolve problems.
- Re-Issue Questionnaires
The first set of questionnaires serves as a baseline. Once the results have been processed and interventions taken, the cycle begins again (every 1 and 3 years, according to the Manitoba Model’s authors).
To be fair, the Manitoba Model is a strategy for implementing a wellness program controlled by management across an entire organization, not purely a safety program. Still, it’s an effective approach that you can use to introduce and integrate elements of wellness into your overall health and safety program.