It is always concerning when something negative within the WHS space becomes so wide-spread that a word is created to describe it, which is the case with ‘presenteeism’.
Presenteeism does not have one clear definition, but the concept is about an employee clocking in at work, but only being present – not necessarily effective! This could be because they are sick, so they should actually be at home or recording long hours in the workplace but not having a high output of work, or even just being in the workplace but playing games or using social media, anything but working!
I believe presenteeism is much harder to track and to manage, because unlike absenteeism, you can’t clearly identify it and manage it.
In July 2011 Medibank Private put out a paper called Sick at Work: The cost of presenteeism to your business and the economy. They stated that
“Presenteeism is a workplace health issue that is not going away. Employers need to act now to reduce its impact and create a healthier, happier and more productive workplace.”
Their paper found that:
The Medibank Private study found that there are four main causes of presenteeism:
From a WHS perspective, three out of four of the causes are things that organisations can actively manage and affect in a positive way.
So my question is – are you managing presenteeism in your workforce?
And if not, why not? Not only should the health of your employees be of concern to you, the financial impacts on your business could be crippling.
If you would like to discuss strategies to reduce presenteeism in your organisation, please get in touch.