Most people are aware of the issue of absenteeism in the workplace but many of us are oblivious to the issue of Presenteeism. Presenteeism can be defined as, “coming into work while unwell.” It can also refer to the act of working more hours when there’s no need to.
According to a report published by the insurance company Aviva it was revealed that 70% of UK employees still turn up to work when they are unwell. That’s 7 out of 10 employees which is equivalent of 18 million nationally.
You may be thinking why is this such as issue? Well it has been proven that Presenteeism can actually cause productivity loss, poor health, exhaustion and workplace epidemic. In fact a 2015 report from CIPD revealed that Presenteeism costs twice as much as absenteeism.
Presenteeism has only recently come under scrutiny and we are only starting to learn about the negative impact it can have for a business.
Why it could be happening?
There are many different reasons as to why employees are spending more and more hours in work when there isn’t a need to. The most prominent factors being that workers feel an immense pressure from their employers to work longer hours and they fear that disciplinary action may be taken against them if they do take some time off. On top of this there is also the pressure from other employees. In some workplaces there is a negative reputation attached to those who clock out of work when they are supposed to. They are left with the reputation that they only do the bare minimum and are not a team player.
Therefore in a nutshell, it becoming more common that workers are feeling insecure in their jobs.
Another reason that Presenteeism is becoming customary in the workplace is due to the fact that some companies simply don’t have enough staff. Therefore they try to spread their current staff too thin to make up for this.
And finally, sometimes it cannot be helped. Due to finical difficulties it is sometimes necessary for employees to work the extra hours.
Why should businesses be worried?
Presenteeism is a growing threat to business productivity. Although it is the best intention by employees to work extra hours it actually has more of a damaging effect on a business. Working excessive hours eventually begins to effect employees leaving them over worked and exhausted. This will actually deter an employee’s performance at work. Just because an employee is present at work it doesn’t necessary mean they are working to their best ability.
Furthermore, if one worker comes into work ill it is very likely that other members of staff will catch the virus meaning that a business will lose a few members of staff as opposed to just the one. It has also been proven that if a person doesn’t take enough time to properly recover from an illness that it is more likely for the illness to return which will result in more sick days and prolonged sicknesses.
What can employers do to tackle this problem?
The most effective way to face this is for the employer to completely change their attitude when it comes to staff becoming ill. It is more about how employers react to their workers when sick. If it is comfortably accepted by the employer then workers will take the time off that they actually need. When they take enough time to properly to recover future illnesses or returning illnesses are less likely. Therefore this will mean that an employee’s work will suffer less in the long-run.
Presenteeism is something we can effectively manage and even change once we being to acknowledge the truth depths of its effects. Once we do this we are another step closer to having a resilient workforce.
When you invest in your employees in certainly pays off. The most important thing for a business is to keep staff healthy and happy because a happy office is a productive one.