An effort to assess the relation between productivity loss costs and presenteeism at work.
OBJECTIVES There were two study objectives: (i) to identify, via consensus, a key set of items for estimating the costs of productivity loss from a company's perspective and (ii) to develop recommendations for the costs of estimating productivity loss on the basis of consensus findings. METHODS A modified Delphi procedure was utilized in which a predetermined set of 26 items formed the basis for inquiry in the first round. Thirty-six experts from five stakeholder groups in the Netherlands (employers, employees, policy makers and insurers, occupational health professionals, and researchers) participated in the panel. Opinions were sought regarding the relevance and retrievability of data on items related to the following three forms of work loss: work presenteeism (ie, decreased work performance while at work), short-term absenteeism (<2 weeks), and long-term absenteeism (>2 weeks). The data were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. The consensus for relevance was set at 70%. RESULTS After two rounds, 4 items were found relevant for estimating the costs of productivity loss due to work presenteeism, 6 items were relevant for short-term absenteeism, and 11 items remained for long-term absenteeism. The retrievability of data varied. Three sets of recommendations were formulated for estimating the costs of productivity loss from a company's perspective. CONCLUSION A streamlined set of relevant items has been identified via consensus and formulated into recommendations for estimating the costs of productivity loss from a company's perspective. Although not definitive, these recommendations represent an important step towards standardizing the way these costs are estimated, and, in turn, facilitate the comparability and utility of economic evaluations of occupational health interventions.