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Is ‘presenteeism’ costing you more than absenteeism?

12 Apr 2016
The issue of presenteeism is becoming a common problem within the workplace, where employees continue to come into work when they are unwell.

Although this may sound like a good thing to HR professionals, it is thought that presenteeism costs UK workplaces £15bn per year – compared to the £8bn absenteeism costs. This is because many employees now feel pressure to attend regardless of the state of their health, potentially impacting the health of those around them too.

The negative effects of presenteeism

The CIPD’s 2015 Absence management survey report, produced in partnership with Simplyhealth, highlights that 31% of employers have seen an increase in presenteeism in the last 12 months. It also shows that presenteeism is more likely to have increased where there is a culture of working long hours and where the demands of the business take priority over employee well-being.

This presenteeism can be a big issue for employers, and as such they should take action to make sure that the culture of the business supports staff. A member of staff who is not fully fit enough to engage at work may be physically present but will not be making a proper contribution to the business, impacting not only the quality and quantity of the work they produce but affecting the overall working atmosphere, including for the people around them.

Having unhealthy people at work creates a vicious cycle. According to research undertaken last year by Canada Life Group Insurance, 89% of UK workers have come into work while sick and 71% of employees said they have become ill after another colleague came into work when unwell.

Healthy, happy staff are more productive

Organisations must look at ways to ensure that their business supports the physical and mental well being of their employees. Supportive management is one of the most important ways to do this, and also one of the most budget-friendly. Making employees feel encouraged and valued can be a huge motivator, and help ensure that staff feel they are understood and appreciated. This can have a great impact on a person’s overall wellbeing.

Working to create flexibility within the structure of the business, such as introducing flexi-time, can also help employees to create a better balance between their work and personal lives, reducing the need to take time off.

Achieving enhanced business performance through a healthier workforce therefore requires great commitment to the cause throughout all levels of the business, focusing on preventative measures rather than reactive solutions to minimise the high cost outlays associated with staff turnover and absenteeism.

The culture of a business should revolve around an environment where all staff are able to work to their potential, with the management team working together with employees to achieve the overall business goals. Implementing structures that allow for staff to generate ideas to improve the business as a whole is another great way to create a better, healthier sense of staff involvement through all levels of the company. This can be done through employee engagement surveys and regular employee reviews, to get people more involved.

To see business performance improvement across the board, companies need to recognise the importance of healthy, happy staff.

Team up with inspiring

INSPIRING provide a range of support for organisations looking to improve their Health and Well Being culture, including Employee Surveys, Leadership and Management Development and consultancy services to help implement BS 76000 – Valuing People standard.