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Presenteeism In The Workplace

by Digital Union member, Oculus HR

Presenteeism in the workplace can have a huge impact on morale, productivity and employee progression which in turn can impact on your business operations.

In fact, a recent survey initiated by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) revealed that 72 percent revealed that they had experienced the effects of presenteeism in the past 12 months.

Affecting businesses of all shapes and sizes, presenteeism is when employees attend work however, they do not perform to the best of their ability for a number of different reasons. Whether this is because they are ill, are over worked, lack motivation to fulfill their full potential, or they are experiencing stress in their personal life, there are a number of reasons why this phenomenon is continuing to cost businesses both time and money.

We have taken a closer look at presenteeism in the workplace and its impact on day-to-day business operations.

Contributing greatly to the deterioration of employee performance and work quality, presenteeism can be just as harmful as absenteeism. This is because, although employees are showing they are willing to work when they are ill, this can actually cause more harm than good.

For example, health related productivity costs are currently at an all time high, and presenteeism in the workplace has been closely linked to conditions such as depression, obesity, anxiety and back pain.

The Signs of Presenteeism

It’s important that all businesses look out for the signs of presenteeism and react accordingly.

However, it’s not a case of one size fits all when it comes to recognising presenteeism in the workplace, as employees display very different signs, behaviours and personality traits.

Here are some of the tell tale signs to look out for:

  • Reluctance to engage with fellow employees
  • Changes in behaviour
  • A drop in productivity and work quality
  • Irritability
  • Unmet deadlines

Other causes of presenteeism include members of staff that choose to work extra hours, work through their lunch break and take on extra responsibilities due to target pressure, or other influencing factors.

How to Avoid Presenteeism

Although presenteeism is currently recognised as one of the biggest threats to productivity and performance, many businesses are yet to address this ever-present issue.

There are lots of initiatives that you can introduce to your workplace in order to prevent presenteeism including:

  • Work schedules that find the balance between work and play
  • A manageable workload
  • Workplace autonomy
  • Encourage the development of workplace relationships
  • Improve company culture
  • Workplace recognition
  • Job security

But that’s not all, when employees are displaying signs that they are physically or mentally unwell, they should be encouraged to stay at home in order to rest and recuperate.

Affecting businesses of all shapes and sizes, presenteeism is when employees attend work however, they do not perform to the best of their ability for a number of different reasons.

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