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Presenteeism Infiltrates the Workplace

Presenteeism Infiltrates the Workplace

According to a report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), absenteeism has been replaced with a rising wave of presenteeism among sick office workers.

Presenteeism is defined as the chronic problem of having ill workers turn up regardless of their health and its impact on others.

In recent times, the CIPD reports, this habit has been growing among workers who fear that time away from the office puts them first in line for potential job losses.

Fears of Redundancy

The CIPD report has found that almost a third of businesses have seen a rise in the number of under-the-weather workers turning up to the office in the last year.

It also put the average number of sick days taken per employee at 6.8 in 2012 ΓÇô down from 7.7 in 2011 ΓÇô which could be attributed to fears that time off risks job security.

But are these fears of facing the chop founded?

The CIPD says ΓÇÿyesΓÇÖ. According to 50% of business owners polled, absence records are used as a way of deciding who gets swept away in a wave of redundancies ΓÇô meaning too much illness in a year could put you in the firing line.

Sickness from Stress

ItΓÇÖs not surprising perhaps that stress is the current leading cause of illness in some workplaces since so many live in constant fear of unemployment.

When analysing the source of the presenteeism trend, the CIPD report identified the following:

  • Stress represents the leading cause of long-term absence in workers
  • Leading causes of stress include workload, organisational change and management style
  • 31% of workers do not receive help from their company to reduce stress

However, it has also been noted that the number of businesses in the UK with a ΓÇÿwell-being strategyΓÇÖ to support the mental health of their workforce is rising.

In fact, many of those taking part in such schemes and actively reviewing their impact have stated that they intend to increase spend in 2013.

ΓÇÿTaking Its TollΓÇÖ

ΓÇ£This year sees a continued increase in presenteeism which can have a damaging effect on organisationsΓÇÖ productivity,ΓÇ¥ says CIPD Research Advisor, Dr Jill Miller.

ΓÇ£Not only can illnesses be passed on to other colleagues, but ill employees are likely to work less effectively than usual, may be more prone to making costly mistakes and take longer to recover from their illnesses.

ΓÇ£Continuing economic uncertainty and fears over job security appears to be taking its toll on employees. We are seeing employees struggling into work to demonstrate their commitment, suggesting presenteeism can be a sign of anxiety.

ΓÇ£We urge employers to examine whether lower absence levels within their own organisations are as a result of more effective absence management or if they reflect the negative impact of presenteeism.ΓÇ¥

Do you head into the office when ill or are you determined to get well quick from the comfort of your bed? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Author: | October 11, 2012 | 1 Comment

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