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Ways to reduce “Presenteeism” in your team

In the month of April, we celebrate World Health Day and specifically mental health. This article relates to Presenteeism in the workplace linked to anxiety.

Presenteeism defined: “is reduced productivity of employees who come to work event if ill, have anxiety or are injured” (as a result of a medical condition that hampers performance – it can even be due to stress caused by financial or life stress). Employees  are also known to who work longer hours than necessary.

In the article by Paul Hemp, At Work – But out of it  explains  that “presenteeism appears to be a much costlier problem than its productivity-reducing counterpart, absenteeism.” Another article from Robertson Cooper states the cost of Presenteeism is “one and a half times more than sick leave”.

As a Manager, you know that when your employee are absent from work, the work can be redistributed or allocated to other employees and you can plan accordingly and adjust.

However, in the case of Presenteeism, an employee is at work but is unproductive. This could also lead to errors and poor quality of the work that is being done.

“I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health.” – Voltaire

The causes of Presenteeism often occur as a result of the following:

  • Management expectations and a demanding environment where the work is valued over people.
  • Little concern for employee well-being
  • An environment that the employee feels “replaceable” and jobs are not secure due to possible retrenchments.
  • The sick leave policy in place at companies may also be restrictive.

Here are the 7 ways to be more proactive and reduce Presenteeism in your team: 

  1. Absenteeism: Reconsider the absenteeism policy to see if there are any loop holes for Presenteeism behaviour.
  2. Employee Health: Make it clear that recovery of sickness is more valued than coming to work ill.
  3. Workload: Be aware of employees experiencing high workloads and make sure that when the employee feels ill or even overworked that they take time off.
  4. Communication: Keep an open flow of communication in your team and be a supportive manager.
  5. Team Skills: Up-skill your team in various roles, should someone be absent anyone will be able to assist and therefore the person absent won’t feel that no one will be able to do his or her work whilst away.
  6. Trust: A good manager creates an environment of trust for the team members, make sure the team trust you to support their decisions and will feel more secure in their job.
  7. Wellness: Implement a wellness program and promote employees exercising and having health checks by providing incentives or arranging a medical team to do checks.

Written by Carla Wasserfall

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