Our Wired World

Predicting Sick Days: New Technology Helps Employers Map Illness Trends

Innovative forecasting tool can help HR and management better anticipate employee absences

Kansas City, MO – Jan. 22, 2019 – New technology from predictive analysis company, Sickweather, can help businesses better prepare for lost productivity due to employee illness. Sickweather is the world’s first real-time map of human health, tracking reported illnesses and symptoms to provide geographically specific information about what’s going around. That information can be used to forecast a range of health-related factors for a variety of industries.

Unum (NYSE: UNM), the nation’s leading employee benefits company, recently partnered with Sickweather on a pilot program among its more than 10,000 employees using data to predict employee absence due to illness. The initiative is designed to give managers more data and insights to plan for absenteeism.

“The benefit of this integration is removing some of the guesswork to ensure a workplace is staffed as efficiently as possible every day.” said Susan Stowell, Assistant Vice President, Workforce Solutions Group and Healthcare Segment Leader at Unum. “Managers and HR departments now have more insight into when unplanned absences may occur, so staffing modifications can be made in advance.”

Cost of Influeza? $6 Billion

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the annual direct costs associated with influenza in the United States are an estimated $6.4 billion. That impacts employers with 17 million lost workdays due to the flu and an estimated $7 billion in sick days and lost productivity.

The benefit of this integration is removing some of the guesswork to ensure a workplace is staffed as efficiently as possible every day...

“We believe illness tracking can be a game-changer for companies looking to get a better handle on employees missing work because of sickness.” said Graham Dodge, CEO, Sickweather. “The partnership with Unum provides the perfect platform to better understand how improved absenteeism management can reduce overtime costs and minimize gaps in service delivery.”

The concept of using illness prediction technology for staffing is novel and has the potential to provide financial benefits for companies with large employee populations, especially for shift-based roles. With employees being one of the largest expenditures for many companies, even a small improvement in staffing efficiency can affect financials significantly.

About Sickweather

Sickweather is the world’s first real-time map of sickness and the largest crowdsourcing community of its kind – processing millions of illness reports each month. The company has been recognized for accurately forecasting outbreaks up to 15 weeks in advance. Sickweather is committed to reducing healthcare costs and saving lives by providing consumers and businesses the most accurate, predictive and meaningful sickness forecasts in the world. (www.sickweather.com)

About Unum

Unum Group is a leading provider of financial protection benefits in the United States and the United Kingdom. Its primary businesses are Unum US, Colonial Life, and Unum UK. Unum’s portfolio includes disability, life, accident and critical illness, dental and vision coverage, which help protect millions of working people and their families in the event of an illness or injury. Unum also provides stop-loss coverage to help self-insured employers protect against unanticipated medical costs. The company reported revenues of $11.3 billion in 2017 and provided nearly $7 billion in benefits.