presenteeism persists

Presenteeism Persists: Study Indicates Employees Work While Sick

The problem of presenteeism persists.

Presenteeism, of course, is the challenge of employees who do not feel physically or mentally well, but show up to work anyhow.

As we have reported:

  • A study published in BMC Public Health titled “Healthy and productive workers: using intervention mapping to design a workplace health promotion and wellness program to improve presenteeism” states: “The economic costs related to presenteeism exceed those of absenteeism and employer health costs. Employers are implementing workplace health promotion and wellness programs to improve health among workers and reduce presenteeism.”
  • Workplace Insight report indicates just how significant the presenteeism problem may be: “Two-thirds (64 percent) of employees have gone to work despite being unwell over the last 12 months, claims a new survey which found that a quarter (26 percent) of people worried that their absence will be a burden on their team.”
  • The post notes: “workload pressure is one of the reasons many people head to work regardless of the state of their health. Many felt their to-do list was too long for them to be able to take time off.”
  • In fact: “A quarter (26 percent) of people head into work when they are seriously ill because they worry that their absence will be a burden on their team, unaware that this is counterintuitive.”

Now, Workplace Insights reports on “a survey of 2,496 UK employees on their attitudes and behaviours around work presenteeism and illness in the workplace.”

The post continues with some eye-opening statistics:

“The results indicated some worrying trends with regards to the prioritization of work over health, with the average British worker having worked more than four days whilst genuinely ill in the last year, and over half of UK employees (52 percent) admitting to delaying seeking medical advice because they didn’t want to take time off work.”

“Of those who did take time off work to see a doctor in the last 12 months, 15.7 percent took unpaid leave to do so, 17.5 percent used their annual leave entitlement and 22.4 percent left work early or arrived late – each of which arguably negatively affect both employee wellbeing and organisational productivity.”