Have you come across this word 'presenteeism' and not been entirely sure what it means? We all know about absenteeism, but today presenteeism is a real problem and cost to Companies.
Absenteeism – The practice of regularly staying away from work (or school) without good reason (high levels of absenteeism caused by low job motivation).
Presenteeism – The practice of coming to work despite illness, injury, anxiety etc, often resulting in reduced productivity. The practice of working longer hours at a job than needed, often as a result of insecurity about that job.
An article in the Sunday Times by Karen Higginbottom (Nov 2017) referred to a CIPD survey done in 2017 where 72% of organisations observed presenteeism. They found an alarming increase in both the prevalence of presenteeism and the related cost to organisations. Statistics are now stating that the costs of health-related presenteeism far outweighs absenteeism.
One of the reasons that we are talking about presenteeism is its link to employee wellbeing. It is often associated with companies who have a culture of working long hours or very demanding industries. Added to this is job insecurity; worrying about letting a team down; concerns about work records and HR performance reports. One of the biggest concerns is that very often senior leadership or management are demonstrating these work habits making it seem to be the expected norm for all employees. This leadership attitude of ‘I can cope with anything and work best under stress and extremely long hours’ filters down and creates unrealistic expectations in the organisation.
But there is hope. Many organisations are now working hard to create a wellbeing strategy to develop a culture of acceptance and realism in order to combat presenteeism. This includes allowing individuals in an organisation to feel in control and autonomous in their roles. Giving them a chance to voice issues and concerns to their team leader and creating a more flexible and open working environment.
The goal? To create a positive culture where hopefully presenteeism will be the unpopular choice and will be the exception rather than the norm.
So. If any of this has resonated with you. Time to take a look at how you work, when you work and what you are achieving. Or maybe simply – time to talk to someone about how you are feeling at work.