The Disengagement Epidemic: Why Stressed and Sore Employees Cost Your Company More Than You Think (Part 1) May 7, 2024 | 5 min Read

The Disengagement Epidemic: Why Stressed and Sore Employees Cost Your Company More Than You Think (Part 1)

Employee engagement is a critical metric for any business. Engaged employees are not only happier and more fulfilled, but they also perform better, are more creative, and stay with their companies longer. Unfortunately, a recent Gallup study paints a worrying picture: in 2024, a staggering 4.8 million fewer U.S. employees are engaged at work compared to previous years. This means only 30% of workers are truly engaged, while a concerning 17% are actively disengaged.1.

This disengagement isn’t just bad for employee morale; it has a significant financial impact on businesses. Disengaged employees are less productive, miss more workdays, and contribute to a higher turnover rate. This could cost a company with 100 employees over $/€ 1.237.500 a year! Let’s delve deeper into the causes of disengagement and explore a surprising solution that can help companies address this issue head-on.

Beyond Work Culture: The Hidden Culprits of Disengagement

While traditional approaches to employee engagement often focus on fostering a positive work culture, our understanding of this issue needs to be more nuanced. While culture does play a role, disengagement can also stem from personal challenges employees face outside the workplace.

Consider these two major factors that significantly contribute to disengagement:

1. Burnout and Stress: A Recipe for Disengagement

Chronic stress and burnout are major contributors to disengagement. When an employee is constantly overwhelmed and under pressure, their ability to think creatively, solve problems effectively, and stay motivated dwindles. This leads to a vicious cycle: reduced performance reinforces feelings of inadequacy and further fuels disengagement.

2. Chronic Pain: A Silent Disengager

Many employers might not realize the significant impact chronic pain can have on an employee’s engagement. Studies have shown that chronic pain can decrease the size of the neocortex, the area of the brain responsible for higher-order thinking and problem-solving, by as much as 11%. 2 Chronic pain gray matter loss is estimated to be equivalent to the gray matter volume lost in 10 to 20 years of normal aging! 2 This can lead to cognitive decline, difficulty concentrating, and a decrease in overall productivity.3

Chronic pain patients will develop clinical syndromes of poor attention span, cognitive abilities, and possibly dementia4

Furthermore, when musculoskeletal issues persist without proper management, they can significantly impact the entire workforce. Companies risk losing valuable employees, often their best and brightest, to a completely preventable problem. It’s concerning to know that chronic pain contributes to disability for roughly 20% of the global population! (1.71 BILLION people as of 2019) 5

The Ripple Effect: How Stress, Pain, and Disengagement Fuel a Downward Spiral

The negative effects of stress, burnout, and chronic pain don’t stop at impacting an employee’s work performance. These conditions often lead to a cascade of negative consequences, including:

  • Depression and Anxiety: Chronic stress and pain can contribute to the development of depression, anxiety and have you guessed it? Stress! Further impacting mental and physical health. 6
  • Increased Absenteeism: Disengaged and unwell employees are more likely to miss workdays, adding to operational costs for the company.
  • Presenteeism: While some employees may physically show up for work when stressed or in pain, their productivity is significantly hampered. This “presenteeism” is a hidden cost for companies . 7
  • Increased Healthcare Costs: Chronic health conditions often lead to higher healthcare expenses for both companies and employees.

The Personal vs. Professional Divide: Can Companies Help?

Many of the personal challenges employees face are, well, personal. Traditionally, companies have had limited strategies to address these issues directly. However, with a new approach, there’s an opportunity to make a significant impact. LinSublim offers the solution to all these problems.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

In the next part of this blog post, we’ll explore how LinSublim’s innovative approach can help companies tackle the root causes of stress, pain, and disengagement, leading to a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce. We’ll delve into the science behind LinSublim and unveil a solution that offers a high chance of success for improving employee engagement and overall company well-being.

Why wait? We offer a free consultation to discuss how LinSublim can benefit your organization to tackle disengagement and the hidden costs of stress and pain.

Book your free consultation today!

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Photo by Luis Alfonso Orellana

  1. U.S. Engagement Hits 11-Year Low 4.8 million fewer U.S. employees are engaged in early 2024  ↩︎

  2. Bill McCarberg, John Peppin, Pain Pathways and Nervous System Plasticity: Learning and Memory in Pain, Pain Medicine, Volume 20, Issue 12, December 2019, Pages 2421–2437,  ↩︎ ↩︎

  3. Kawai K, Kawai AT, Wollan P, Yawn BP. Adverse impacts of chronic pain on health-related quality of life, work productivity, depression and anxiety in a community-based study. Fam Pract. 2017 Nov 16;34(6):656-661. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmx034. PMID: 28444208; PMCID: PMC6260800.  ↩︎

  4. Zhang X, Gao R, Zhang C, Chen H, Wang R, Zhao Q, Zhu T, Chen C. Evidence for Cognitive Decline in Chronic Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Front Neurosci. 2021 Sep 22;15:737874. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2021.737874. PMID: 34630023; PMCID: PMC8492915.  ↩︎

  5. Musculoskeletal health  ↩︎

  6. Pain, anxiety, and depression  ↩︎

  7. Gail Kinman, Sickness presenteeism at work: prevalence, costs and management, British Medical Bulletin, Volume 129, Issue 1, March 2019, Pages 69–78,  ↩︎