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The hidden costs of an unwell workplace


Jacob Rodriguez  |  CFO, Natura

When employees miss work due to illness, there is a direct expense to the company.

Productivity decreases, projects get delayed, client meetings are pushed back, and questions can go unanswered. It may be easy for you to calculate and measure the company costs for a single individual on sick leave; time lost, payroll wages, delays, etc.—but what about the ancillary expenses, the hidden costs (the ones that can typically exponentialize) that may result from just ONE employee getting sick?

the taxes of unwell


  • Viruses do not discriminate. Illnesses do not typically stop with one person. Flu, colds, stomach bugs and more can spread across the entire office within a matter of days or weeks and go from one absence to a whole team taking sick leave.
  • Most work today is collaborative. When one person falls behind due to an illness, it slows not only their own productivity, but the productivity of the entire team. This has been proven as teams have gone remote (even with technology, collaboration and innovation from teams is lacking).
  • According to SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) productivity lost due to unscheduled absenteeism is annually 8.1% of total salary. For an employee making $50,000 per year, this is $4,050. In an office of 25 people, this can amount to over $100,000 per year in absences.
  • Culturally, excessive absenteeism creates a sense of animosity towards other employees as they need to pick up the slack. This can ultimately lead to higher-than-desired turnover.
  • Confidence in a safe work environment is one of the highest priorities for our commercial client base.


What can be done to improve employee well-being?

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, physiological needs are the first and most basic. If we, as employers, are not providing a workplace to foster this most basic need, we will never be able to provide a culture of employee engagement.

At Natura, we believe we assume this responsibility: to take care of our people. This includes the health and safety of each employee. We are responsible for providing them with a safe space to work and a space in which they can grow, thrive and flourish

What can we do to ensure that our employees grow, thrive and flourish?


  • Disinfect and clean workspaces regularly.
  • Ensure that the indoor air quality is regulated through air purification or outdoor ventilation.
  • Allow flexibility for employees to work from home when they are not feeling well.
  • Guard against employees and guests from entering the environment when exhibiting symptoms through monitoring.
  • Allow for work within safe distances, as necessary.
  • Create spaces infused with biophilic design (real LIVE plants inside and out!) to reduce sick time and improve productivity.

We encourage you to do the same for your people.


DOWNLOAD: Executive Summary: Total Financial Impact of Employee Absences in the U.S.


What enhanced health & safety measures are you considering to safeguard your workplace for a returning workforce?