Last update : July 12, 2023

What is Presenteeism? 

Presenteeism refers to employees showing up to work when they’re not feeling well, or coming to work when they’re not physically able to do so.

Presenteeism is a behavioral issue in which an employee comes to work but is not expected to do much. A person who is presenteeism may visit the company network, but will not contribute.

Presenteeism is the representation of an employee being in the office but working very little. Presenteeism is the opposite of absenteeism, which represents an employee not showing up for work.

Presenteeism is behaviorally similar to the syndrome known as work avoidance. Both these behavioral issues are seen in people who lack motivation in the workplace and would rather spend their time doing other things than getting to work.

What is the difference between Presenteeism and Absenteeism?

Employers should be concerned with the health, ability, and well-being of their employees, and should therefore minimize the risk of exposing their employees to illnesses and injuries in the workplace. Absenteeism, defined as employees leaving work due to illness or personal reasons, is not a significant business problem, but presenteeism workers who show up to work when they are sick or injured is a significant problem.

What is The True Cost Of Presenteeism?

Dysfunctional presenteeism isn’t just bad for employees, it’s bad for business. Presenteeism can:

  • Make other employees sick by passing on germs and infections.
  • Cause, rather than relieve stress.
  • Create mental health issues.
  • Resulting in burnout and loss of productivity over the longer term.
  • Cause increased errors.
  • Resulting in increase staff turnover.

Ultimately, it may be tempting for organizations to overlook presenteeism in the hopes of simply “getting things done.” That said, it’s not sustainable. 

Common symptoms of presenteeism include:

  1.  A persistent fever
  2.  Weakened immune system
  3.  Fatigue
  4. Headache
  5. Nausea
  6. Loss of energy

How to stop Presenteeism?

The key to curbing presenteeism is to foster the right culture in your workplace. If your employees feel comfortable taking a day off when they’re under the weather, they won’t come into work just for the sake of it.

1. Have an absence management policy 

2. Flexible Working Hours 

3.Provide Enough Sick Leave

4. Share Mental Wellbeing Resources

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