Health Affairs: Chronic Conditions, Workplace Safety, and Job Demands Contribute to Absenteeism and Job Performance

Employees with chronic health conditions, demanding jobs, or unsafe working conditions are less productive, according to a new study in Health Affairs by the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health, and Claire Brockbank at Segue Consulting. 

This research sought to identify factors that can predict absenteeism and presenteeism, including:

  • Do prior claims (proxy for workplace safety) predict absenteeism and presenteeism?
  • Do workers’ chronic health conditions predict absenteeism and presenteeism?
  • Are job demands associated with absenteeism and presenteeism, and does it matter if the job demands are physical versus cognitive?
  • Do workplace safety, employee health, and job demands interact to predict absenteeism and presenteeism?


The research established that each of the individual factors (prior claims, chronic health conditions, challenging job demands) all predict reduced productivity.

  • Workers’ chronic health conditions predicted increased absenteeism and presenteeism; as the number of chronic health conditions increased so did the level of lost productivity. This pattern was true for employees with and without prior WC claims.
  • Workplace safety (prior claim) predicted increased absenteeism and presenteeism.