Distracted employees are costing your company money

South African businesses are losing R89 billion a year because their employees are distracted.

According to the Momentum Effective Employee Index, “presenteeism” – when employees are at work but unproductive due to distractions – is costing some businesses five percent of gross operating profits (GOP), amounting to R89 billion a year. 

Elaine Wright, wellness strategist at Momentum Corporate, says:

“South African companies, already reeling from the rising cost of absenteeism on employee productivity, are losing much more due to presenteesim.” 

The results showed that around 27 percent of employees who go to work don’t always work effectively because of distractions. 

The purpose of the index is to help employers identify and understand the distractions their employees face at work. This way they can take proactive measures to intervene and reduce presenteeism’s impact, and to quantify its cost.

Using the SA average day rate of R405.05, it is estimated that employers are losing an average R596 566 per 100 employees per year due to presenteeism.

The research uncovered five key presenteeism drivers, ranked according to prevalence and average time that they were distracted per reason: 

1.    36 percent of distractions are personal reasons, like sick family members, bereavement and family or relationship problems. 
2.    22 percent of distractions are for financial reasons, including issues such as over-indebtedness and lack of saving for unplanned expenses. 
3.    The workplace makes up 14 percent of distractions.
4.    Physical health issues, like headaches and flu, contribute 19 percent.
5.    Depression, mental exhaustion and more make up the psychological reasons, which is 8 percent.

Says Wright:

“Proactive, targeted interventions in these areas can significantly reduce its impact on productivity. An effective employee assistance programme can help employees to cope better with their personal issues and improve their emotional health."

She adds that employee interventions, financial education programmes, flexible insurance benefits that reduce over-insurance and channel more money towards long-term savings, reward programmes that encourage healthier lifestyles, access to private healthcare cover and tele-health services for health issues that do not require face-to-face consultation are other great intervention ways to reduce presenteeism.