Presenteeism – The rising bug-bare


Recent studies have shown that a shocking 83% of employees have directly witnessed presenteeism in the workplace. With 40% of workers stating that their work is affected by health problems, the rise of presenteeism is becoming a widespread problem across the UK. What causes presenteeism, how does it affect business and how can you battle the growing issue?

The causes

Research suggests that the biggest causes of presenteeism are employer expectations and job security concerns mixed with money worries. Pressure from management and the example set by team leaders has a negative effect on employees. ‌ Management attending work while in poor health sets a poor example for those looking up to them. Most managers within the UK‌ admit to attending work while feeling unwell and also using “leavism” to keep on top of the unmanageable workloads put in place. In a survey of 1000 UK based organisations, studies found that 86% of employees have observed a manager attending work when clearly unwell. It is time to ask yourself, what example are you setting for your employees?

Other main causes Include

  • Dual earner income issues – Childcare related
  • Little or no sick pay
  • Loyalty to the employer
  • Self – Importance

Unfortunately, too many organisations are failing to discourage unhealthy workplace practices, this in turn has a very negative effect on the health of the UK economy. It is time to work on the epidemic harming your company profits and productivity.

What is Presenteeism costing you?

Productivity loss is three times greater due to presenteeism than that caused by absenteeism. Unfortunately for you as an employer presenteeism does not show dedication and loyalty, it highlights the failings of management and spread sickness causing further detrimental outcomes on your business.

The average employee takes 4.3 days sick per year down from 6.6 days, this shows the shocking truth behind how people deal with sickness in the workplace.

Presenteeism costs the UK economy £73 billion per year, that’s £605 on average per employee, per business, per year. But it’s not just about the money! 27 days in total of productivity time are lost per employee every year due to presenteeism, so regardless of that employee attending work and “powering through” the reality is they are just not being productive while battling flu! Can you afford to lose this amount due to poor health?

Let’s work on better health

Low workplace morale, deterioration of business values, demotivated employees; the list is endless when it comes to the cost of presenteeism. We are here to show you ways in which you can eradicate the issue, for good and get back to an effective, productive workforce.

Recognise the issue

You need to highlight where the problem is coming from. Understand why employees feel it is necessary to attend work in poor health. When you have a clear understanding of the reasons behind presenteeism within your business you will be able to work on strategies to stamp out the problem.

Is disciplinary action negative action?

Absence control policies have been known to have a negative effect on employee health and well-being values. Companies who have disciplinary procedures in place to control absence have the highest levels of presenteeism and poor health within the office in the UK. Assess how you can control absence in a productive way before taking measure that may have negative effects on healthy employees.

Don’t set a bad example

As previously mentioned, managers attending work in poor health set a bad example for their staff. If you don’t feel well you must stay home, your workforce will appreciate it.

Boost employee morale

Unfortunately, the biggest cause of employee sickness is mental health and wellbeing. Stress caused by workload and negative working environments makes up for 44% of presenteeism cases. Pressure placed on employees encourages them to attend work while unwell. Only 21% of employers are battling presenteeism by reviewing their health and well-being policies. This simply isn’t good enough! With 12.8 million working days lost to stress and work anxiety in the UK, employers could benefit from addressing office politics and employee morale.

It is time to understand that attending work in poor health does not make you or your employees dedicated. It is time to address your company policies in order to maintain a healthy, productive and happier workforce.

How does your company work when it comes to poor health in the workplace? Comment below to see if alldayDr can help you with your presenteeism nightmares!

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