What Is Presenteeism And How To Recognize It In Your Staff?

December 28, 2021

Toxic employee expectations formed by years and years of unhealthy work culture are one of the leading causes of burnout. When employees start to become perpetually exhausted or even ill, their productivity suffers, causing a domino effect that results in a significant decline in a company’s overall performance. Such instances could lead to serious cases of presenteeism in employees.

What is Presenteeism?

In simple terms, presenteeism is being there, but not really there. This lack of concentration caused by feelings of burnout, fatigue, or illnesses ultimately result in a decrease in a company’s overall productivity. When suffering from presenteeism, employees can give their best efforts to do their duties but the qualities of their output do not reflect their determination. Studies have shown that employees exhibiting signs of presenteeism could cost the company higher than those who take absences as they could cause more delays or drops in productivity long term.

What are the tell-tale signs that your employee is suffering from presenteeism?

Employees suffering from presenteeism usually produce substandard outputs such as delayed reports or significant amounts of mistakes in their work.
When an employee lacks concentration or is ill, their efficiency in completing tasks decreases, resulting in an overall decrease in productivity.
One blatant sign of presenteeism is lack of punctuality, both in attendance and work deadlines.
When employees lose track of time, they overcompensate by working during lunch breaks or past work hours.
Working while ill or fatigued is a common sign of presenteeism. Employees who feel insecurities in their job usually force themselves to work despite not being in the best physical condition.

What are the measures that can be practiced to eliminate presenteeism culture?

Implement clearer and stricter policies regarding leaves.
Making stern reminders about allotted leaves is an effective way to let the employees know that they have a right to apply for sick or vacation leaves when they are ill or in need of rest. Holding mental and physical health seminars is a good way to share information about self-care. Additionally, implementing a simple leave approval process can greatly prevent employees from hesitating to take necessary time off.

Evaluate performance reports more thoroughly and adjust benchmarks accordingly.
Adjustment of benchmarks or deadlines in accordance to an employee’s performance record can help in preventing presenteeism before it occurs. Keeping a thorough observation of their workload and giving them breaks in routine through variation of tasks or collaborative projects is an effective way to stop work burnout.

Promote flexible work hours.
Giving employees control over their work hours is a great way to fend off work exhaustion. Employees with unhealthy sleep schedules due to long commutes will be able to feel well-rested, likely resulting in higher productivity at work.

Incorporate remote work days.
Studies have shown that employees who work remotely experience improvement in their well-being and work quality. Letting employees work at home allows them to have better work-life balance and more autonomy in how they do work.

Evaluate and adjust company culture.
The best way to prevent presenteeism in the workplace is to assess how the management runs the company. Self-evaluations and anonymous employee feedback can go hand-in-hand in gathering insights and in making necessary changes to the work system.

Being aware of the signs of presenteeism can reduce its occurrence in the workplace. Making significant changes to the work culture and management processes will help guarantee that your employees have a healthier overall well-being, effectively raising the company’s productivity as a whole.