Report: Stress Costs Companies 8 Days of Productivity a Month

A new report puts a price tag on the effect of stressed employees on a company's bottom line.
By: | May 15, 2019 • 2 min read
stress and productivity

A new industry report paints a distressing picture of the workplace, with employees spending more than one-third of their time at work being unproductive and averaging one full day off sick per month.

This revelation comes with the release of Workplace Well-being: A Summary of the 2018 Workplace Outcome Suite Annual Report, released in partnership with LifeWorks by Morneau Shepell and the International Employee Assistance Professionals Association. The report is based on data from multiple employee-assistance providers worldwide and over 23,000 employee use cases.


According to the research, employees struggling with mental health or other wellbeing issues are unable to concentrate on their job, aka “presenteeism,” for more than a third of the total scheduled work time (54.95 hours or 34%)–or about eight total days per month. For context, it is more than twice as much as the typical “healthy” employee.

In addition, these employees are also absent from work for an average of 7.36 hours per month – almost one full working day (about 5% of all work time).

The most common clinical issues behind the reduced productivity were related to mental health (i.e., depression, anxiety) or personal stress (combined at 40% of cases), followed by relationship problems of marriage or family life (29% ), work and occupational issues (18%), and alcohol misuse and drug problems (4%).

The report looks at the utilization and effectiveness of employee-assistance programs and found that about eight out of every 10 cases for counseling were self-referrals, with referrals from a family or other source at 7%, supervisor referrals at 5%, and a mandatory referral from HR or the employer at only 2%.