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Presenteeism: At Work--But Out of It

Employers are beginning to realize that they face a nearly invisible but significant drain on productivity: presenteeism, the problem of workers being on the job but, because of illness or other medical conditions, not fully functioning. By some estimates, the phenomenon costs U.S. companies more than $150 billion a year--much more than absenteeism does. Yet, it's harder to identify. As companies struggle to rein in health care costs, most overlook what may be a $150 billion problem: the nearly invisible drain on worker productivity caused by such common ailments as hay fever, headaches, and even heartburn. However, a handful of companies are recognizing the problem of presenteeism and trying to do something about it.

Due to copyright issues, this study is only available through the Harvard Business Review website.

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