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4 Habits That Have Become Expensive For an Employer

Certain habits have become more expensive to employers in recent years. Although there have been efforts by society and regulatory bodies to act upon these negative habits it seems the cost of having employees with them keeps soaring. The fear of employers though is not that these habits have not always being present but that they are seemingly getting out of control.

Here are the four main habits that have become expensive for employers to manage.

#1 Insomnia

Sleeping habits are a problem that workplace managers are beginning to worry about. According to a recently released study, insomnia-related workplace accidents happen more often and cost more than anyone had imagined.

As a society it seems we are not sleeping enough and it’s costing businesses money. The study in question which was conducted by Harvard medical researcher, Victoria Shahly in 2012 and published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, reports that the average costs of insomnia-related accidents and errors is slightly more than $32,000. That was nearly 50% more than the average cost of other accidents and errors (slightly less than $22,000). The errors associated with insomnia had significantly higher costs than other workplace errors by an average of $20 976 ($18 978 with controls) per incident.

Annualized US population projections associated with these estimates were $442.4 million ($373.8 million with controls) for insomnia-related accidents, $30 884.0 million ($31 784.0 million with controls) for insomnia-related errors, and $31 326.4 million ($32 157.8 million with controls) for insomnia-related accidents and/or errors.

#2 Smoking

Recent studies have reported that compared to nonsmoking employees, every staff member who lights up costs their employer nearly $6,000 more each year. The researchers found that more time off, smoking breaks and added health care costs were to blame for this discrepancy. Low productivity due to more missed days at work costs employers, on average, $517 annually for each employee that smokes. Meanwhile, presenteeism costs $462 annually for each smoker. Smoking breaks cost $3,077 a year per smoker and excess health care expenses cost $2,056 annually for every employee that smokes. Because smokers are more likely to die at a younger age than nonsmokers, annual pension costs were an average of $296 less for each employee who smoked, the researchers noted. Overall, the total estimated cost to employers was $5,816 per year.

#3 Alcohol Use

The effects of absenteeism, poor job performance, accidents and injuries, and alcohol-related disability and death have been estimated to cost employers around the world hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Lost productivity is the primary social cause of harmful drinking. While some of the productivity losses can be attributed to drinking on the job, most of the costs stem from drinking outside the workplace, such as drinking at lunchtime or heavy drinking after work. Employees who drink moderately or occasionally are also responsible for much of the alcohol-related productivity losses.

#4 Flirting

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 43% of human resources managers have reported incidences of romance in the workplace. Workplace romances are not uncommon these days, especially since men and women work together, putting in longer hours than ever before. Moreover, the reason that employers should be concerned about romance in the workplace is its potential effect on other employees and the potential for costly litigation, especially if it is between a supervisor and a subordinate. The largest potential legal landmine for employers is a claim of sexual harassment. Gossip and decreased productivity can also have a negative effect on a company’s work environment. Whether it's a drop in workplace morale or a sexual harassment lawsuit, office romances have the potential to cause big trouble for businesses of all sizes.

These four habits altogether can tear a business down. However, employers are becoming wary of these habits in an employee and are beginning to fight back either by not hiring persons with some of these habits or by charging employees with higher premiums for health insurances. We hope you are not a slave to any of these habits!

Have you ever experienced working with a colleague who does posses one or more of these habits?