Presenteeism: Worse than pulling a sickie?


Presenteeism – coming into work and struggling when feeling unwell, costs twice as much as absenteeism, according to the CIPD’s annual absence management report.

Illness can affect both the quantity (people may work more slowly or have to repeat tasks) and quality (they may tend to make more mistakes on the job) of work, lowering individual productivity by one third or more.

A survey of 39,000 UK workers showed that a quarter have recently struggled into work, despite feeling unwell. The main reasons cited were personal money troubles, work-related stress and pressure from managers.

Presenteeism is felt more by the young, with more than 4 in 5 (85%) of 18–24 year olds believing it exists within their workplace. 72% of employers have also observed presenteeism in their organisation, with 29% seeing an increase throughout the last year.

So why is it happening?

80% of employees believe that those who spend more time within the office appear to be working harder, whilst 66% believe working late increases chance of promotion.

However, data from The Economist proves there is a strong correlation between longer working hours and lower productivity. This is thought to occur due to employees placing working longer and harder shifts above their personal health and subsequently falling unwell.

The most important aspect for employers is finding a balance between absenteeism and presenteeism. This is no easy feat as there is a natural dichotomy between the two issues.

Understanding the relationship between the two issues, and addressing presenteeism as a fundamental problem will ensure organisations can strike the right balance and help their business become as productive as possible. 

The best way to combat presenteeism is communication with your employees. Not sure how to approach difficult conversations with your team members? Read our expert guide for top tips.

By Nicole Hogger.

 © 2018 Just Recruitment Group Ltd. 

Posted on Tuesday Dec 27