Employees who go to work sick cost employers an average of $255 per employee per year, according to a study by Cornell University. Sickness was found to lower productivity as employees suffered from difficulty concentrating, slowness at tasks and the need to repeat work done poorly.

While most employers are well aware of the problems of absenteeism, presenteeism is often overlooked as a drain on productivity with a high economic cost, reports Circadian Technologies, Inc. Because shiftworkers are at a greater risk of getting sick if they do not know how to manage their shiftwork lifestyles, there is an even greater presenteeism cost in shiftwork than in daytime operations.

Previous studies have indicated that presenteeism costs U.S. businesses $180 billion annually in lost productivity. Companies such as Dow Chemical Co. have begun to address the costs of workplace illness by starting programs to educate workers about good health practices.

Educating and training shiftworkers how to minimize the risk of illness, along with providing training in health practices, not only trims presenteeism costs, but also reduces the bottom-line costs of healthcare and absenteeism, as employees are less likely to utilize healthcare or to miss work due to illness.