Tackle Absenteeism, Presenteeism with Innovative Interior Designs
Submitted By Maurice Benatar
As any individual who has managed a company (or a company division) knows, absenteeism can be a major stumbling block to reaching goals. It can also cause a terrible drain on the financial resources of the organization.
Recently, a report confidentially obtained by a leading news agency discovered just how prevalent the problem is in Canada’s government sector. Absenteeism costs taxpayers more than $1 billion annually in lost wages. Though the private sector seemingly experiences this problem to a lesser extent (about 2.5 times less), it remains a nagging challenge for any organization that wants to grow.
Ironically, absenteeism is only half the story when it comes to common workplace saboteurs, because the lesser-discussed “sister” issue of presenteeism, is also becoming a problem. (Presenteeism is best defined as a situation where workers are present, but barely productive, because their minds are focused elsewhere.)
In order to stem the tide of such employee-driven concerns before they rises to tsunami-like proportions (as it is rumored to do), Mayhew, a Canadian interior design firm, has offered a rather innovative – and highly pointed – solution for companies: inventively redesigned workspaces.
This response seems a simple answer to the complexities inherent in absenteeism and presenteeism, especially in a world fraught with confusing political decisions and global uncertainties. However, there is proof to back this theory. Interior design professionals have a long track record of assisting clients in keeping their employees more productive and happier through the creative design of their interior workplace areas.
But can this really help to stave off sick days, personal days, wandering concentration, workplace depression and widespread ennui? The short and sweet response from clients is “Yes.”
Companies that hire professional interior design firms to create organic, encouraging workspaces tend to have employees who are more excited to come to work. Rather than eschewing a day on the job, they genuinely look forward to conducting business in an area that is well-lit, exceptionally-appointed and ideal for their needs. Thus, absenteeism and presenteeism is combated head-on by interior designs that promote engagement rather than tramp down on communication.
Of course, companies that embrace this approach are also recommended to consider making additional changes in tandem with their workspace design changes. For instance, they might adopt programs and incentives to reward attendance and performance. Consequently, those workers who not only show up but who also perform at top levels can choose from a variety of compensation models.
It’s time for Canada’s businesses to be creative, taking charge of the challenges facing modern-day offices. In the end, the goal is to minimize absenteeism and presenteeism and build strong corporations that can succeed.
Maurice Benatar is Vice President, Business Development and Marketing at Mayhew, a Thornhill, Ontario company specializing in workplace design and solutions.