The Cost Of A Sick Employee


Sick employees cost businesses money. A lot of money. Understanding the significant costs of sick workers and how you can prevent illness from sweeping through your office can help save your business money and improve productivity among your employees.

The Cost of Staying Home…and Coming to Work

Sick employees cost their employers money in two ways:

  1. By staying home.
  2. By coming to work.

The fact is that illness is just expensive. While employees who stay home from work cost their employers money in lost productivity, even worse are the employees who come to work sick. Workers who come to the office sick are less productive because of their illness. They also spread their illness around the office to co-workers.

This report on the CDC’s website states that losses due to absenteeism are estimated to cost employers $1,685 per employee annually. In addition, 60 percent of the total cost of sick workers is due to employees who come to work while ill. This practice, called presenteeism, costs employers in the United States $150 billion annually.

Saving Money By Keeping Employees Healthy

Your business can save money by taking measures to keep your employees healthy. Here are a few ways that you can keep prevent your employees from costing you money due to illness:

  • Provide hand sanitizer. Put hand sanitizer dispensers around the office in locations frequently touched by workers, like at door knobs and elevator buttons. You can also provide hand sanitizer near the reception area to encourage your visitors and clients to do the same.
  • Promote cleanliness. Run a campaign to encourage clean habits among your workers. Put up signs and ads in the newsletter that remind your employees to wash their hands after using the bathroom.
  • Keep a clean office and office kitchen. Cleanliness prevents illness. If your office doesn’t have a cleaning staff that regularly dusts, empties the trash cans and cleans the office kitchen, now is the time to hire someone.
  • Provide wipes for cleaning keyboards. Give your employees the tools they need to clean the germ hotspots around the office. Antibacterial wipes can be used to clean keyboards and phone receivers. Considering that phone receivers have been shown to harbor more than 25,000 germs per square inch, wipes can go a long way to keeping your office cleaner and less germy.
  • Stay home when you’re sick. Many workers come to work sick because they feel pressure from management to perform no matter what the circumstances. When management comes to work sick, this sets a precedent that trickles down to the workers. When management stays home due to illnesses, this shows workers that this kind of behavior is acceptable and expected.
  • Establish a strong wellness program. A strong wellness program will help keep your employees healthier overall. With good exercising habits, good nutritional habits and by living an overall healthier lifestyle, your employees will be better able to fight off illness and will miss less time from work as a result.

If you’d like to know more about how you can keep your employees healthy this cold and flu season, contact HealthyWorks. We’ll help you design a wellness program that improves your employees’ quality of life while lowering your business costs.