A migraine that comes out of nowhere. A bout with anxiousness that you just didn’t see coming. A cellphone name from a doctor with less-than-ideal information. 

Sadly, these are all components of life which might be generally unavoidable and so they are likely to end in an unproductive workday. These items can actually throw a wrench into our to-do lists, no matter how minor or trivial they appear. Worse, they can lead to presenteeism within the office, inflicting productiveness to dip.

Presenteeism occurs when an worker is bodily at work or their desk, however is unable to hold out any of their tasks and has the next chance of constructing errors of their position. Relating to presenteeism, it’s essential to remember the fact that an worker exhibiting indicators of presenteeism is making an attempt to provide their greatest efforts, however for one motive or one other, are unable bodily or mentally to be their best self.

One of many major points with presenteeism is {that a} supervisor typically can battle to see the productiveness hole that an worker is exhibiting as clearly as they’ll when an worker is absent from work. In contrast to absenteeism, when an worker is continuously absent from work or lacking attributable to an sickness, presenteeism could be a a lot bigger downside within the office. 

Indicators of presenteeism

As an HR skilled, division supervisor, or group chief, there are particular indicators of presenteeism that you may be careful for out of your group or fellow workers. If you happen to discover any of those, your co-worker could also be affected by presenteeism. 

Seen sickness

The primary signal of presenteeism within the office from a group member is while you persistently discover they’re sick, in poor health, or ill, however are nonetheless at work. When a coworker always comes into work feeling unwell, not solely will it doubtless take them longer to get better from their sickness, however they might unfold it to different members of the group, too.

Hold a watch out for a excessive variety of workers coming to work trying drained or having indicators of an sickness, like a cough, runny nostril, or mentioning having a headache, as these might be indicators of presenteeism. 

Low absence fee

Do you bear in mind when our center college or elementary college lecturers used to provide out awards for excellent attendance? There’s a motive why corporations don’t move out the identical award, as this will also be an indication of presenteeism.

Whereas sure, it might probably additionally imply a coworker is persistently wholesome and joyful at work, if nearly all of the workers all has a low absence fee, which might be tracked by managers and HR professionals utilizing absence administration software program, there’s an opportunity that one thing is off with one or a number of firm insurance policies. 

Low morale

Take into consideration how you are feeling while you’re affected by an sickness, despair, or exhaustion. It’s very arduous to maintain your spirits excessive. The identical might be mentioned to your workers. If you happen to discover a decline of their morale, this might additionally have an effect on different areas of the group, like the general tradition and well-being.

Moreover, low morale might be contagious, that means if one worker is exhibiting indicators of diminished morale, others may decide up on these habits and begin displaying them, too.

Loss in productiveness and motivation

Usually, when an worker has low morale, it’s paired with a loss in productiveness and motivation. Even your highest-performing worker will doubtless battle for motivation and the power to knock duties off their to-do record once they’re not feeling their greatest or are affected by well being issues.

As a supervisor, you should definitely test in together with your workers if you happen to discover indicators of presenteeism. Ask in the event that they’re feeling keen about their job or the issues they should do all through the day. This will help you acknowledge productiveness loss and a dip in motivation whereas discovering methods to assist.

An elevated quantity of errors

Everybody makes errors. However workers are prone to make greater than normal once they’re not feeling current at work or in the event that they’re always fascinated about one thing else. Their consideration to element will slip, and there’s an elevated chance of errors, from the little issues to main cases. 

Working lengthy hours

The occasional 10 hour day or 50+ hour work week occurs, particularly in case your group is coming collectively to hit an essential deadline or aim. Nevertheless, when an worker feels sick or below the climate at work, they received’t be spending their time as effectively or as productive as they normally would. This might power them into working lengthy hours to satisfy their deadlines.

Whereas some corporations might really feel that coming into the workplace early and staying late could also be an indication of working arduous and loving their job, it may additionally point out that an worker is struggling to get their work achieved due to well being points.

Think about the bodily well being of that worker the subsequent time you discover them staying late or arriving earlier than anybody else.

Presenteeism and psychological well being

Numerous occasions, presenteeism is tied to workers being bodily in poor health or affected by an harm. Nevertheless, the ties between presenteeism, psychological well being, and psychological sickness usually can’t be ignored.

Many elements play into the psychological well being of workers, whether or not or not it’s pressures at residence or from their household, stress, or identified psychological well being circumstances, they’ll all play a component in presenteeism. If an worker is taking break day work and managing absences from surgical procedure or from a bodily sickness that others can see, it’s a lot much less frowned upon than these wanted to take break day due to poor psychological well being. 

Managers and HR professionals should think about that simply because they’ll’t see a bodily sickness when coping with an worker, that doesn’t imply they aren’t experiencing a decline of their psychological well being. 

Causes for presenteeism within the office

Presenteeism within the office would not simply occur – some particular causes and causes make it extra frequent, and by the identical measure, extra of an issue.

For starters, an worker might be displaying indicators of presenteeism as a result of they’re saving their break day. Possibly they’ve an upcoming trip deliberate, a medical process across the nook, or are planning to develop their household quickly. As an alternative of taking a time without work once they want it, they’re as an alternative selecting to return into work to allow them to save up, or accrue, the break day they want for one thing else.

You’re in all probability considering… why don’t they take a sick day? An worker can solely take a sick day if they’ve sick go away to take. If a corporation is simply providing a restricted quantity of sick days, sick workers might be compelled to return in once they’re not feeling their greatest. This might be as a result of they’re apprehensive they’ll really feel worse later and might want to take the sick day then, or they’ve used up all of their sick days and don’t have a alternative however to return in.

Another excuse an worker could also be displaying indicators of presenteeism is because of loyalty to their group. Whereas sure, you need an worker who loves their job, is dedicated to their group, and desires to return in and work on initiatives or assignments, you additionally need somebody who can provide the workday their all, be productive, and put their very own wants first. That received’t occur in the event that they’re affected by presenteeism.

Take into consideration your star worker. The one you at all times flip to when an task must get achieved quick. Or the one you at all times ask to give you an answer when issues go unsuitable. As a supervisor, take into consideration the workload you’re placing in your group members. A heavy workload might be the rationale why an worker is displaying indicators of presenteeism. They might really feel like they can not afford to overlook work due to how a lot is on their plate, which may trigger them to return to work on a day they don’t seem to be feeling their greatest. 

Lastly, an worker might be displaying indicators of presenteeism as a result of they concern penalties of lacking work or they’ve job insecurity. Have there been whispers of layoffs or a discount in power across the nook at your group? Or possibly there was a normal shakeup in staffing not too long ago and so they’re uncertain of their job safety. For these causes, an worker may fear that lacking work may put them on the chopping block down the road as a motive to be let go. 

Penalties of presenteeism

Whereas some might imagine that the extra workers who’re bodily at work the higher, there are literally quite a few penalties of presenteeism that your group will wish to attempt to keep away from.

For starters, the price of presenteeism is excessive in the case of productiveness, which in flip will value your group cash. When an worker is coming into work regardless of being injured, sick, harassed, or feeling run down, the impression of presenteeism is extreme. There will probably be a transparent productiveness hole between group members who’re coming into work feeling joyful and wholesome, and people who are struggling mentally or bodily. 

Moreover, the errors that we beforehand talked about an worker affected by presenteeism could make additionally value a corporation. It will merely be higher off if that worker took the time to heal and was absent. 

One other consequence of presenteeism is that an worker might be prolonging, or making their well being even worse, by coming into work and trying to do their job when what they really want is to relaxation. This can solely lengthen the period of time that an worker is working whereas feeling a loss in productiveness in addition to growing the chance of spreading their bodily sickness to others. 

Find out how to scale back presenteeism

If you happen to’ve observed presenteeism out of your workers, there are methods a corporation can scale back the chance of it taking place sooner or later to enhance worker well being. 

Change in tradition

The primary place your organization ought to begin when trying to sort out presenteeism is their office tradition. This tradition performs an enormous half within the conduct of your workers and the choices they make. Study the firm tradition and see if you happen to can determine something which may be inflicting your group to exhibit indicators of burnout and presenteeism. 

For instance, ask your self the next questions when looking at your organization’s tradition.

  • Are those that make the most of sick days or the paid break day coverage criticized, appeared down upon, or judged? 
  • Are new mother and father getting back from maternity or paternity go away early due to job insecurity? 
  • How tough is it for workers to take the break day they want due to well being points? 

As part of your group’s human capital administration technique, be sure that the tradition of your organization is one you’re happy with that places your workers’ wants first.

Begin a well-being program

One other nice technique to scale back presenteeism and enhance your group’s psychological well being is by implementing a well-being program or varied wellness packages with a built-out coverage in place to assist stresses workers face each inside and out of doors of labor.

Think about all social, psychological, bodily, and monetary stresses your group might face that would trigger presenteeism. Then, provide applicable assist and packages to scale back the impression. Whether or not it’s a program that promotes and encourages train, counseling, extra healthcare suppliers and companies, or monetary administration, these packages can go an extended technique to forestall diseases and reduce the impression of demanding conditions. 

If you happen to aren’t positive the type of packages that your group would profit from probably the most, provide a questionnaire or ship an nameless survey to be taught extra. 

3 in 5

workers usually are not receiving sufficient assist from supervisors to assist handle stress.

Supply: Psychological Well being America

Redo your insurance policies

It’s frequent for companies to make the most of absence administration software program as a technique to monitor attendance and sick go away. Once you do, you should use the information to take a greater take a look at the conduct of your workers. You possibly can then apply it to your insurance policies and see in case your sick go away or paid break day coverage is doing extra hurt than good. 

Moreover, if you happen to do determine to redo firm insurance policies, take the time to ensure managers perceive any modifications and might correctly talk them with their departments and direct experiences. 

Present a versatile work schedule

Some workers might have to take a complete time without work work to keep away from presenteeism, whereas others might merely have to readjust their work schedule or work sample. Your organization should present a versatile work schedule that may work in direction of the strengths of your entire workers. This might be permitting them to make money working from home or shift to completely different working hours. It’s all about maximizing their productiveness and supporting no matter works for his or her psychological well being.

Promote work-life stability

To make sure your organization doesn’t have a tradition of presenteeism, it wants to advertise a strong and wholesome work-life stability. An ideal place to start out right here is to try what C-suite workers and managers do. Are they coming to work sick? If sure, their group will discover and assume they’ve to return into work feeling in poor health, too. 

The identical might be mentioned for answering emails or direct managers after hours. If managers and top-level workers are answering messages after working hours, or once they’re having fun with time away from the workplace, different members of the group will assume this conduct is required to climb the company ladder. 

Find out how to measure presenteeism

Even when you already know the indicators of presenteeism, it might probably nonetheless be arduous to know for positive in case your coworkers or group members are experiencing it. To find out if they’re, think about sending out a work limitations questionnaire (WLQ) to get direct suggestions from workers.

This may embrace questions like:


Prior to now two weeks, how a lot time did your bodily well being or emotional issues make it tough to do the next:

  • Do your work with out stopping to take breaks or relaxation
  • Keep on with a routine or schedule
  • Stroll or transfer across the workplace
  • Use handheld instruments or gear

Questions like these, in addition to the solutions your group offers, can provide you a greater concept of whether or not or not they’re experiencing presenteeism. 

Put presenteeism in your radar

Regardless of the scale of your group or the business it is inside, it is essential for the success of the corporate, in addition to the success of the person worker, to know the indicators of presenteeism and the way it can impression the enterprise. Making the suitable modifications to the corporate tradition, paid break day insurance policies, and administration coaching can all have a massively optimistic impression towards minimizing presenteeism and giving workers the liberty to take the break day they want.

In spite of everything, you need your workers joyful, wholesome, and feeling their greatest. Once they’re experiencing presenteeism, they’re feeling the other. 

Get began combating presenteeism at your group by making certain you are providing sufficient paid break day to your workers.

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