Elder Care in the Workplace — Calculate Your Company’s Loss…Then Manage Your Company’s Risk

by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

From time-to-time, my research uncovers great perspectives that help illuminate the challenges associated with “Eldercare in the Workplace”. Dan Henry, Chief Human Resources Officer at Bright Horizons, ran the numbers on elder care as it relates to employers and their employees. In September of 2014 he stated the following.

adding up figures concept with modern white calculator in officeSome numbers just hit you over the head. This is how I felt when I read a Gallup poll the other day called the Cost of Caregiving to the U.S. Economy. The study breaks down the cost of elder care in this country. Here are two of the highlights:

  • One-in-six employed Americans are caring for an elder or disabled relative
  • Each of those people miss an average of 6.6 days each year

Thatƒ’s a pretty significant number all by itself. Then I started to do the math. In a company of 1000 people, one-in-six employees missing an average of 6.6 days annually add up to a loss of more than 1,000 days every year. Thatƒ’s 1000 employees who have elder care responsibilities x 6.6 missed workdays = 1,100 lost days.

Calculating Future Business Losses

That kind of time loss isnƒ’t just days — itƒ’s years. So if youƒ’re running a business with 1,000 people, youƒ’re paying literally the equivalent of three years in lost time every year because people have unsolved elder care challenges. And that was just in 2011. The U.S. Census Bureau says our population is aging, which means the number of people caring for aging relatives is only going to go up. Our own Modern Family Index tells us many employees are seeing elder care in their future.

Sobering Statistics for Employers

For employers, these are sobering statistics and proof that elder care is not just a personal problemƒ’itƒ’s a business problem. Like any other trend ƒ’ technology, demographic, scientific ƒ’ itƒ’s altering the business landscape. And smart employers are looking at it exactly that way ƒ’ pragmatically. Theyƒ’re saying to themselves that to preserve their bottom lines theyƒ’re going to have to approach it head on. Theyƒ’re leading a trend of programs that offer both guidance to employees about how to sift through all the options and also actual, tangible care.

The Importance of Solving for Elder Care

The other aspect to this equation that canƒ’t be ignored is the positive performance effect. Being ƒsandwichedƒ between generations is hard. Taking care ofRisk Management children and elder relatives is hard. Taking care of an elder relative and working is stunningly hard. People who get support from the people they work for (in this case, with elder care) are gratefulƒ and relieved. They pay their employers back not just by showing up, but by being great employees. Elder care responsibilities are a fact of life. Numbers donƒ’t lie. That one-in-six number says your company is going to be affected, no matter who you hire, where youƒ’re located, and what business youƒ’re in. Itƒ’s yet another reason conversations about working families are taking on such urgency. Families arenƒ’t only children. As Ellen Galinsky told NPR IN 2014, ƒ”We may choose to have children but we donƒ’t choose to have parents.ƒ” That makes addressing this challenge good business no matter how you look at it. Because itƒ’s a simple equation: solve for elder care, or watch literally years of hard work go down the drain.

Well said Dan! Helping businesses mitigate this risk is what we do here at Caring Concierge. We have been doing it for years and we’ve been able to assist companies large and small.

Determine Your Company’s ‘Sobering Statistics’

Take a moment to apply the ‘one-in-six’ formula above and you can get a feel for how your company is impacted with respect to employee missed workdays due to elder care issues. Then give us a call. Caring Concierge can help to greatly reduce your companies exposure and enable your employees to confidently and proactively address their elder care issues.

I wish each and every one of you a healthy and successful 2015!

Survey Shows Elder Care a Growing Concern for Adults Balancing Work and Family!

by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

Perhaps it is a sign of age! Not only did 2014 seem to fly by, but each year now seems to come and go faster than ever before! I’m happy to see another year coming and I continue to look upon December both with reflection of the year that was, and with optimism for the year to come.

If you’ve been reading my blog over the years you know that I like data and that I like to report out on what the data tells us. That said, according to a recent study ofAnalytics_iStock_000016503756XSmall_1  more than 5,000 U.S. workers, mid-career employees have become  increasingly dependent on employer-sponsored back-up eldercare  programs. This increase in demand for elder care mirrors the increase in the number of people providing care to an aging relative – more than  40 million people had responsibility for an elder’s care in 2012,  according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The Lasting Impact of Employer-Sponsored Back-up Care, a study conducted by Horizons Workforce Consulting and Russell Matthews, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Bowling Green State University, confirms that working men and women  ages 40 to 60 are embracing elder care supports in order to focus and  remain productive at work while feeling confident that their aging  parent – or spouse – has access to quality care.

Sandwich Generation employees, those who care for their aging parents while also supporting their own young children, are particularly impacted. Roughly one out of every eight Americans between the ages of 40 and 60  fall into this group, according to the Pew Research Institute, and  between 7 million and 10
million Americans are providing care for their aging parents from afar with little or no back-up support in the case of an emergency.

“The tensions of child care, eldercare, and work make the Sandwich  Generation most prone to acute caregiver stress.  Not only are they  overwhelmed trying to balance their careers with the demands of  parenthood but also with the responsibility of caring for their own  aging parents. “Having access to  quality back-up care for children and adult relatives can go a long way  toward alleviating stress for these employees and reducing absenteeism  and loss of productivity for their employers” according to David  Lissy, Bright Horizons Chief Executive Officer.

In fact, a recent study surveyed employees who used this type of program within a 6 month period. Of the respondents with adult/eldercare responsibilities:

  • Two-thirds are providing daily living support for an adult relative.
  • Three-quarter are providing health-related supports for their aging family members.
  • Nearly 100% said that having an eldercare benefit like the Back-Up Care  Advantage Program has provided them with a level of comfort and  increased their productivity.
  • Nearly 70% of those surveyed who used the eldercare benefit said that this  benefit has allowed them to work on a day they would have otherwise  missed, and, on average, having access to adult back-up care has allowed employees to work six days in the past six months that they otherwise  would have missed.

If you are like so many companies in the U.S. that have not provided for some form of eldercare assistance for your employees, then make 2015 a year of action. Your company and your employees will greatly benefit from this action. Remember, employers in the U.S., including your company, have an aggregate loss in worker productivity in excess of $33 billion every year directly attributed to employees having to address elder care issues.

Generations @ Christmas1aHAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU ALL

Please reference my blog post from December of 2011 titled Home for the Holiday’s … Gather Critical Information on Your Aging Parents, and my blog post of December 2012, Home for the Holiday’s — Time for an Assessment! I believe that each contain timeless information that you should reference with respect to your aging loved ones. Each of these blogs are less focused on employer/employee issues of lost productivity resulting from the urgency of adult caregiving. Instead, they ask that each of us pay special attention to their older loved ones during this time of the year when family visits are so prevalent.

What Can Management Do…Consider Revisiting MBWA!

by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

From time-to-time, I’m asked to facilitate “lunch and learn” sessions at companies that list us (Caring Concierge) as a benefit resource to their employees. These are excellent sessions for employees to learn how to get prepared for ‘what’s coming’ with respect to adult caregiving or to ask questions about what they are currently trying to manage with regard to eldercare for an aging loved one.

Recently during one of these sessions, I had a senior manager ask me a great question. To paraphrase, he said, “in light of the reluctance of many employees to reveal that they are having adult caregiving issues that are distracting them from their work, how can management help their employees with eldercare issues”. He specifically referenced my comments that many employees are reluctant to share these issues with their employers. I asked him to consider the following.

EMPLOYEE BENEFIT INTRANET — It may seem like a ‘no-brainer’, but some companies do not place benefit resources in the most convenient locations for employees to reference them. Some of the ‘best practices’ I’ve seen include using an internal intranet that employees can reference. It must be kept up to date, and the company intranet must not be allowed to be a ‘passive resource’. Companies have to continue to make sure that it is up current, and that their employees are notified of new opportunities which they might avail themselves. So many employees forget to look internally, at company provided resources, when a crisis arises simply because they haven’t seen these resources since their “New Employee Orientation” session!

iStock_Lunch&LearnSession_PMCompanies should regularly create opportunities such as ‘lunch and learn’ sessions, to keep their employees aware of the assistance resources that are available for them to leverage when necessary. So many companies have benefit resources available for their employees, but spend very little effort in making sure their employees are aware of their existence along with how, why, and when to use them. I believe employers can reduce employee lost productivity by keeping available resources fresh in the minds of their employees.

MBO and MBWA — In management theory and practice, there are a number of methodologies used to task employees and evaluate their outcomes with respect to company goals. Management by Objectives (MBO) remains one of the most prevalent; it is both personally and organizationally focused. However, I believe the best managers still employ a form of an older, less direct method that we used to call “Management by Walking Around” (MBWA). With MBWA, managers kept abreast of work progress by regularly interacting with their direct reports at their assigned work locations. It’s value was not only in knowing the progress of work assignments but it also gave managers the perfect opportunity to interact with the employee in a less formal manner. It was during these ‘walking around’ sessions that sometimes personal issues would come to light. In other words, MBWA often facilitated a ‘deeper’ manager-employee relationship whereby personal issues or crises in the lives of employees would emerge. This was management’s window into reminding employees of benefits that are available to help.

My point is that in our current down-sized/right-sized-high efficiency work environments, by and large, MBWA has gone by the way-side. Nevertheless, incorporating some method of indirect communication with employees is a great way for management to know what’s going on and to remind them of resources that your company might already have available. Together, these are great approaches to reducing lost productivity in the workplace. This includes the+ $33 billion per year that employers in the United States lose directly resulting from employees addressing adult caregiving issues.

Employer Wellness Programs — Well Worth It But Consider This!

by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

As the mounting cost of health insurance continues to strain corporate and household budgets, both employers and policy makers are increasingly turning to wellness programs as a way to help bring them under control. Evidence indicates that carefully executed wellness programs can save employers as much as $7 for every $1 spent, according to a new study by the Massachusetts Business iStock_WomanWorkingWellness_PMRoundtable, a public policy group that represents top executives at some of the state’s biggest companies. Such programs can lower health care costs over the long term, but more immediate savings can come from higher employee morale, reduced absenteeism, and increased productivity and retention.

SMALL BUSINESS INCLUDED

According to a new study of more than 1,000 small-business owners by Humana and the National Small Business Association (NSBA), 93 percent of small businesses consider their employees’ physical and mental health to be important to their bottom line, and 54 percent say it’s “extremely important.” But despite that, only a third of respondents are confident they can manage employee health care needs, citing gaps in information and employee interest.

(Note: This survey defined health and wellness programs as initiatives to encourage employees to make healthier choices, such as getting preventative care, eating right and exercising.)

So what health and wellness issues are small business owners concerned about?

  • High employee stress is the number one concern for small business decision-makers, especially at smaller companies, with stress levels rating more than triple other employee well-being concerns.
  • Employees working when they are sick is second – 57 percent reported that their employees show up for work when they should be taking a sick day.

As this study shows, health and wellness programs can be a win-win situation for small businesses, fostering healthier people and healthier profits. So what’s holding small business owners back from implementing programs?

So what does it take to create an effective wellness program? The roundtable’s report examined programs and experiences of eight companies and identified elements that made them successful. They included careful planning, the ability to measure progress, and respect for the attitudes, practices, and values that make up a company’s culture. “There are best practices that could be shared broadly for folks that are thinking about doing a wellness program,” said JD Chesloff, executive director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable.

Employers should not necessarily provide an exhaustive range of wellness options, said Kelly Dougherty, executive director of the CardioVascular Center at Tufts Medical Center and part of the group that drafted the report. Successful plans instead focus their offerings on their particular audience, she said: A workplace dominated by young men could have different needs than an office staffed largely by middle-aged parents. “The folks we talked to who really had a handle on this really seemed to understand their workforce,” Dougherty said.

Consigli Construction, for example, shaped a program that complements its competitive company culture, with group exercise classes and workplace contests that encourage employees to push each other to adopt healthier lifestyles.

Northmark Bank, on the other hand, takes a more relaxed approach at its three locations in Andover, North Andover, and Winchester. The company’s goal is to get employees out of their seats and walking around for at least five minutes every day, said chief executive Jane Walsh. Participants are recognized with stars for each day they walk and small gifts for longer streaks.

Some employees are so dedicated to maintaining the habit that they will circle the boardroom or pace the stairs when weather keeps them indoors, Walsh said. “It ends up building camaraderie,” Walsh said. “I think the company’s better for it.”

The Roundtable report also pointed to the need to quantify the impact of wellness programs.

Starting last year, Consigli Construction employees were offered up to $400 off their annual health insurance payments if they completed an assessment including blood pressure and cholesterol testing. To earn the same discount next year participants will have to show they have maintained or improved their health stats. The measurements let the 62 percent of Consigli employees who participate track their progress while giving the company solid metrics to determine whether its program is working.

“After we do this for a few years, we’ll be able to look back and take an average and see where it saves us money,” Brogioli said.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts uses data to target its wellness programs. After an initial assessment, employees are classified as low, medium, or high risk and directed to resources most appropriate to their needs, explained Cathy Hartman, vice president of prevention and wellness for the insurer. A low-risk employee might be advised on maintaining healthy habits; a higher-risk person might be counseled on increasing physical activity

But there is still much to learn about the impact of wellness programs. For one, the definition of what exactly constitutes a“wellness program” remains up in the air. The report found that some companies do no more than provide access to online nutrition and exercise tips, while others, like Consigli, have invested in comprehensive initiatives.

Further, the growth in wellness initiatives — 74 percent of employers nationally reported offering such programs in 2010, up from 54 percent in 2008 — has outpaced research into their effectiveness, Hartman said. Still to be discovered is how, why, and where specific interventions work and others do not, she said.

At Consigli Construction, the results from the first year of the health metrics program are not yet in, but Brogioli expects the numbers to show success.

“You’re getting rewarded for positive results,” he said. “Common sense dictates that it is going to be very effective.”

 

Resources:

  • SBA.gov
  • Sarah Shemkus, Globe Correspondent

Defined Contribution Benefits Model — Don’t Forget Advance Care Planning!

by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

With the introduction of health insurance exchanges and full implementation of the Affordable Care Act by 2015, ‘change’ is the operative word in employer-provided benefits. Many employers are moving to a tool called a “Defined Contribution (DC) Benefit Plan”. From Wikipedia, a defined contribution benefits plan is a type of retirement plan in which the employer, employee or both make contributions on a regular basis. Individual accounts are set up for participants and benefits are based on the amounts credited to these accounts (through employer contributions and, if applicable, employee contributions) plus any investment earnings on the money in the account. Only employer contributions to the account are guaranteed, not the future benefits. In defined contribution plans, future benefits fluctuate on the basis of investment earnings. The most common type of defined contribution plan is a savings and thrift plan. Under this type of plan, the employee contributes a predetermined portion of his or her earnings (usually pretax) to an individual account, all or part of which is matched by the employer. In the United States, Internal Revenue Code specifies a defined contribution plan as a plan which provides for an individual account for each participant and for benefits based solely on the amount contributed to the participant’s account, and any income, expenses, gains and losses, and any forfeitures of accounts of other participants which may be allocated to such participant’s account.

Employers say the top two reasons for contemplating a switch to DC benefit models are to lower health care costs and to offer their employees more choice in the allocation of tiStock_RetirementPlanning_PMheir benefit dollars (59% and 40%, respectively). Employees report they would allot 75% of their benefit dollars to health, dental, and vision coverage, leaving 25% for other coverage’s such as voluntary life, disability, accident, and critical illness insurance. Even with this allocation by employees, 42% of brokers feel the shift to DC plans will lead to an uptick in sales for voluntary products.

“While employers struggle to fund increasing health care costs and more look to shift to DC plans, employees will realize a higher level of choice when it comes to benefits selection and aligning their benefit dollars with personal priorities,” said Jim Gemus, senior vice president, Products, Prudential Group Insurance. “Carriers and brokers have an opportunity to ramp up employee awareness and educational efforts in order to help ensure employees fully appreciate the value of the voluntary benefits available to them.”

I am an active participant in National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) which takes place April 16th. The goal is to inspire, educate & empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. As employers pivot to DC Benefits model and the like, it is crucial that advance care planning (Advanced Directives) be included as an element of a sound employee benefit plan portfolio.

ADVANCED DIRECTIVES

All adults can benefit from thinking about and planning for what their healthcare choices would be if they are unable to speak for themselves.  These decisions can be written down in an advance directive so that others know what they are.  Advance directives come in two main forms:

  1. A “healthcare power of attorney” (or “proxy” or “agent” or “surrogate”)  documents the person you select to be your voice for your healthcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself.
  2. A “living will” documents what kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life.

iStock_SigningWill_PMOHIO ADVANCE DIRECTIVE
The Ohio Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care lets you name someone, called an agent, to make decisions about your medical care—including decisions about life-sustaining treatment—if you can no longer speak for yourself. The durable power of attorney for health care is especially useful because it appoints someone to speak for you any time you are unable to make your own medical decisions, not only at the end of life.  Your durable power of attorney for health care becomes effective when your doctor determines that you have lost the capacity to make informed health care decisions for yourself.

The Ohio Living Will Declaration is your state’s living will. It lets you state your wishes about health care in the event that you become terminally ill or permanently unconscious and can no longer make your own health care decisions. Your Ohio Declaration becomes effective when your doctor determines that you have lost the capacity to make informed health care decisions for yourself and you are terminally ill or you are permanently unconscious.

The Organ Donation Enrollment Form allows you to register your organ donation choices with the registry, so that your organ donation wishes will be followed, even if your declaration cannot be found.

These forms do not expressly address mental illness. If you would like to make advance care plans regarding mental illness, you should talk to your physician and an attorney about a durable power of attorney tailored to your needs.

There are other advanced planning vehicles including ‘trusts’ that should be considered however, the basic elements of the advanced planning portfolio are what I’ve covered above. This is important and I urge every employer, every employee, in fact, every adult, to proactively address advanced planning today for the sake or yourselves and your families!

 

 Thanks to contributions from Prudential Financial and Employee Benefit News

 

The Causes and Costs of Absenteeism in the Workplace — Part 2

by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

Over the past few years, our blog has discussed in detail, issues associated with lost productivity resulting from employee absenteeism that is brought about by elder caregiving. But what are other ‘common’ causes of workplace absenteeism? This is Part 2, the concluding information we wanted to present with an accounting of lost productivity in the workplace by occupation; a different look that we hope you find informative.

Risk ManagementCosts of Lost Productivity

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index surveyed 94,000 workers across 14 major occupations in the U.S. Of the 77% of workers who fit the survey’s definition of having a chronic health condition (asthma, cancer, depression, diabetes, heart attack, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or obesity), the total annual costs related to lost productivity totaled $84 billion. According to the survey, the annual costs associated with absenteeism vary by industry, with the greatest loss occurring in professional occupations (excluding nurses, physicians and teachers); the 14 occupations and corresponding costs of lost productivity are shown in chart below.

Newsletter Graph_05Feb14According to Absenteeism: The Bottom-Line Killer, a publication of workforce solution company Circadian, unscheduled absenteeism costs roughly $3,600 per year for each hourly worker and $2,650 each year for salaried employees.

The costs can be attributed to many factors including:

  • Wages paid to absent employees
  • High-cost replacement workers (overtime pay for other employees and/or temporary workers)
  • Administrative costs of managing absenteeism

Other indirect costs and effects of absenteeism include:

  • Poor quality of goods/services resulting from overtime fatigue or understaffing
  • Reduced productivity
  • Excess manager time (dealing with discipline and finding suitable employee replacements)
  • Safety issues (inadequately trained employees filling in for others, rushing to catch up after arriving as a replacement, etc…)
  • Poor morale among employees who have to “fill in” or do extra work to cover absent coworkers

What Employers Can Do

  • Absenteeism is an especially difficult problem to tackle, because there are both legitimate and poor excuses for missing work – and it can be challenging for employers to effectively monitor, control and reduce absenteeism. Unless a company requires a written excuse from a doctor, for example, it can be difficult to determine if an employee is actually sick when missing work. At the same time, however, it is important for employers to consider the added costs associated with a sick employee who spreads an illness   that gets the whole division – or a lot of customers – sick.
  • To address problems like this, some companies, cities and states have moved toward a mandatory paid sick leave policy, where each employee receives a specified number of days each year to use when sick.
  • Opponents of mandatory sick leave argue that it will ultimately cost businesses more money and lead to increased layoffs. In addition, opponents have concerns that employees will use all their sick days whether or not they need them.  Advocates of such a move, however, argue that paid sick leave makes economic sense because it will help stop the spread of communicable diseases in the workplace and in schools – resulting in fewer instances of absenteeism in the long run – and that sick employees will be able to recover      sooner.
  • The Centers for Disease Control, for example, states that paid sick leave could have an especially significant impact in the food service industry, where it estimate that sick food handlers are responsible for 53% of norovirus (a particularly nasty form of stomach virus) outbreaks. – One sick food handler could theoretically infect dozens or even hundreds of people, resulting in a large number of absences that could have been avoided if that employee had simply stayed home. Unfortunately, workers often either need the money or are worried about being terminated for calling in sick – even if it’s unpaid leave – so they go to work even if they know they are contagious.

In an effort to reduce absenteeism, some companies offer incentives for going to work, such as earned time off or lotteries for workers who do not have any unexcused absences within a certain period.

Other firms might try a more proactive approach, putting policies in place to focus on responses to employee health concerns, including:

  • Physical health
  • Psychological health
  • Work-home balance
  • Environmental health
  • Economic health

The logic with this approach is that healthier, happier employees will be more able and motivated to go to work each day, resulting in increased productivity and higher morale for the individual workers as well as the entire team. Although these employee wellness strategies may be expensive to implement and maintain, they can have a net positive effect on a company’s bottom line – and that’s good for business.

The Bottom Line

Absenteeism costs U.S. companies billions of dollars each year in lost productivity, wages, poor quality of goods/services and excess management time. In addition, the employees who do show up to work are often burdened with extra duties and responsibilities to fill-in for absent employees, which can lead to feelings of frustration and a decline in morale.

Occasional absences from work are inevitable – people get sick or injured, or need time during business hours to handle personal business. It is the habitual absences that are most challenging to employers, and that can have the greatest negative effect on co-workers. Because missed work days have a profound financial effect on a company’s bottom line, it is beneficial for most businesses to implement strategies to contain absenteeism.

Absenteeism due to employees focused on eldercare costs U.S. employers over $33 billion per year. The absences are often uncontrollable making it extremely difficult for employers to successfully manage and control their outcomes. Here at Caring Concierge, our risk management work is designed to minimize the impact on the workplace associated with employees who have to also work through the demands of providing eldercare for senior loved ones.

 Forbes, July 10, 2013

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CARING CONCIERGE eNEWSLETTER — Readers of our blog ”Eldercare and the Workplace” may be unaware that we also have a monthly newsletter. Our electronic newsletter, simply titled “News from Caring Concierge” has been produced every month for the last 2 years. Its contents consists of articles and related resources regarding workplace productivity as it relates to the conservatively estimated +$30 billion aggregate cost lost to U.S. companies every year as their employees are challenged to address adult caregiving issues. If you would like to be included in our growing list of companies that receive this monthly eNewsletter, just send an email titled “Caring Concierge Newsletter—Subscribe” to me at kevin.johnson@caringconcierge.com. I’ll simply add you our distribution list. Should you wish, you can easily unsubscribe and please know that we never share your contact information with any other entity.

The Causes and Costs of Absenteeism in the Workplace — Part 1

by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

Over the past few years, our blog has discussed in detail, issues associated with lost productivity resulting from employee absenteeism that is brought about by elder caregiving. But what are other ‘common’ causes of workplace absenteeism?Risk Management

Causes of Workplace Absenteeism — Absenteeism is an employee’s intentional or habitual absence from work. While employers expect workers to miss a certain number of workdays each year, excessive absences can equate to decreased productivity and can have a major effect on company finances, morale and other factors. This article looks at the causes of absenteeism, the costs of lost productivity and what employers can do to reduce absenteeism rates in the workplace.

People miss work for a variety of reasons, many of which are legitimate and others less so. Some of the common causes of absenteeism include (but are not limited to):

  • Bullying and harassment – Employees who are bullied or harassed by coworkers and/or bosses are more likely to call in sick to avoid the situation
  • Burnout, stress and low morale – Heavy workloads, stressful meetings/presentations and feelings of being unappreciated can cause employees to avoid going into work. Personal stress (outside of work) can lead to absenteeism.
  • Childcare and eldercare – Employees may be forced to miss work in order to stay home and take care of a child/elder when normal arrangements have fallen through (for example, a sick caregiver or a snow day at school) or if a child/elder is sick.
  • Depression – According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the leading cause of absenteeism in the United States is depression. Depression can lead to substance abuse if people turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate their pain or anxiety.
  • Disengagement – Employees who are not committed to their jobs, coworkers and/or the company are more likely to miss work simply because they have no motivation to go.
  • Illness – Injuries, illness and medical appointments are the most commonly reported reasons for missing work (though not always the actual reason). Not surprisingly, each year during the cold and flu season, there is a dramatic spike in absenteeism rates for both full-time and part-time employees.
  • Injuries – Accidents can occur on the job or outside of work, resulting in absences. In addition to acute injuries, chronic injuries such as back and neck problems are a common cause of absenteeism.
  • Job hunting – Employees may call in sick to attend a job interview, visit with a headhunter or work on their resumes/CVs.
  • Partial shifts – Arriving late, leaving early and taking longer breaks than allowed are considered forms of absenteeism and can affect productivity and workplace morale.

Just think, the total cost of productivity loss due to eldercare alone is well over $33 billion per year for U.S. employers. Risk management planning is essential for employers to achieve the success they need.

In Part 2, I will take a different view of the costs associated with lost productivity.

CARING CONCIERGE eNEWSLETTER — Readers of our blog “Eldercare and the Workplace” may be unaware that we also have a monthly newsletter. Our electronic newsletter, simply titled “News from Caring Concierge” has been produced every month for the last 2 years. Its contents consists of articles and related resources regarding workplace productivity as it relates to the conservatively estimated +$30 billion aggregate cost lost to U.S. companies every year as their employees are challenged to address adult caregiving issues. If you would like to be included in our growing list of companies that receive this monthly eNewsletter, just send an email titled “Caring Concierge Newsletter—Subscribe” to me at kevin.johnson@caringconcierge.com. I’ll simply add you our distribution list. Should you wish, you can easily unsubscribe and please know that we never share your contact information with any other entity.

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