What is presenteeism? 

What is presenteeism? 

What is presenteeism? 

According to a CIPD survey, presenteeism in the workplace is more prevalent since the pandemic, with 81% of people working from home and 65% of workplace-based employees taking part in the trend. So, what is presenteeism, and how does it affect your organisation?  

What is presenteeism? 

Presenteeism is when employees work while sick or put in excessive overtime while not being productive. Essentially, it is the act of being present, but not being able to do much beyond that. There are many reasons why an employee might do this, such as the fear their manager might look unfavourably towards them, money worries, and job security concerns.  

Signs of presenteeism can include employees showing up to work sick, answering emails late at night to keep up with workload, or staying later than they need to. 

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What are the effects of presenteeism? 

There are long term and short-term effects for both employees and organisations. Employees can become more anxious, depressed, and over-stressed. If they are working while they are sick, it can cause them to take longer to recover from their illness. The illness can spread, possibly affecting the productivity of other employees, having a detrimental effect on the morale and wellbeing, increasing the likelihood of mistakes, and potentially leading to burnout.  

As an organisation you have a duty of care towards your staff and looking after their health and wellbeing should be of high priority. By looking after the health and wellbeing of your employees, you will see reduced absenteeism, more productive staff, and a happier workforce. 

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How can you prevent presenteeism in your workplace? 

  • Upskilling your managers, so they are able to recognise any presenteeism issues early on. 
  • If an employee exceeds their sick day quota, rather than disciplining them, you could try coming up with a better support structure to encourage sick staff to come back to work sooner. 
  • Do a monthly survey to ask your employees about their working life with you. This could provide insights into why some of them may be overworking and get suggestions about how to prevent it. 
  • Introducing health and wellbeing initiatives at work to encourage better mental, and physical health. 

More organisations are taking steps to tackle presenteeism. Working when ill (presenteeism) remains prevalent – and is even higher for those working from home (81% versus 65% among those in a workplace). In response, 52% of HR respondents are taking steps to address this trend and investigate potential causes. 

If you need help managing presenteeism in your workplace, get in touch and see how Fusion can help.