Hey, I’m here. So, I must be working. Right?

Well, maybe not. We’re all familiar with absenteeism. “Bob is out sick today.” He’s not here, so don’t expect any production from him. Management understands that unless the other workers pick up Bob’s production, output will be down today by one Bob.

But what about presenteeism? Bob’s here at work – see, that’s him over there – but, is he actually being productive right now, or is he really trying to figure out how to pay for a new transmission for his car?

Absenteeism is usually regarded as a problem; presenteeism usually is not.

However, as David Kilby points out in his book, The New Productivity Engine, presenteeism costs Americans more business productivity loss than employees who are absent. He cites Daniel Sitter, author of Learning for Profit: “Presenteeism accounts for 61 percent of an employee’s total lost productivity and medical costs.”

We see the problem when workers are absent. Presenteeism is probably not seen as much of a negative,

Kilby notes.

According to a 2004 article in the Harvard Business Review, more time is lost from people showing up but not performing at full capacity, than from people staying home. Sitter also states that forty-nine percent of employees lose productivity at a rate of one hour or more per day due to stress, and that one-fifth of employees come to work more than six days a year when they’re too stressed to be effective.

A major cause of stress at work is sudden personal financial problems, David Kilby says in his book. He calls it “a financial heart attack!” A 2014 survey by American Express found that half of all Americans had experienced an unforeseen expense in the past year – some of which could be considered an emergency.

Not having enough emergency savings for unexpected expenses was the top financial concern for half of U.S. workers, according to a 2014 PricewaterhouseCoopers Employee Financial Wellness Survey. And, not surprisingly, workers agreed that dealing with the situation was stressful. Further, they found that the stress negatively impacted their performance at work.

Though the outlook seems grim, there is a ‘win-win’ solution, according to Kilby in his book. He quotes a CFPB report: “Fortunately, it appears employers may be able to provide their employees with the help they seek while helping their own bottom lines.”

In the today’s recruiting environment, where good employees are becoming increasingly difficult to find and retain, a financial wellness benefit can provide solutions with positive monetary returns on the investment,

Kilby says.

One quote from Kilby’s book bears repeating: “Forty-six percent of employees spend, on average, two to three hours per week during work hours dealing with their personal finances rather than the work at hand.”

For a business with 1,000 employees, that’s between 920 and 1,380 hours a week! Multiply that by 52 weeks. “If everyone works a 40-hour week,” Kilby contends, “An employer could save the cost of 23 to 34 people by eliminating this wasted time.”

“What could you do with this money?” he pointedly asks the reader.

I’m here, and I really am working.

Financial wellness programs help employees better manage their personal finances and build financial cushions for emergencies, as well as helping them reduce stress. Employers can also gain significant increases in productivity, as well as increasing employee retention and satisfaction.

Since a good deal of employee illness can be triggered by stress, financial wellness may also help to cut absenteeism, along with ever-rising EAP and medical costs. As for presenteeism, financial wellness benefits can help Bob reassure everyone, “I’m here, and I really am working.”

As Kilby repeats often in The New Productivity Engine, “Financial wellness is a ‘win-win’ for everyone.

Employee financial wellness programs provide solutions.

“A sound financial wellness program as an employee benefit offers a number of paybacks for employers,” Kilby says. He cites increased productivity as just a beginning. Additional benefits include increased employee satisfaction, loyalty, commitment and retention.

The costs of replacing an entry level employee exceeds $12,000, according to many reports. The cost of replacing a mid-level worker can be over $24,000, while a senior person can cost over $36,000 to replace.

“I’m here, but I’m too stressed to work!”