The Problem With Presenteeism

Submitted by Dawn on 10th January 2017

Sickness absence management, sickness at work, HR policies, employee handbook

According to recent research from Canada Life Group Insurance, ‘presenteeism’ is still a very real issue for UK employers. In fact, 9 out 10 staff said that they have gone into work whilst feeling ill. Some might say that their dedication to the job is admirable, however, it’s something that can cause serious problems for employers

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out why. Coughs, sniffles, and sickness can easily be spread amongst staff, and before you know it, you could have a situation on your hands that is starting to look distinctly like an epidemic. Productivity falls, and this can result in serious problems in terms of managing the day-to-day workload. 

These issues could perhaps be linked to traditional British culture. We like to adopt a stiff upper lip, and just get on with things. 

28% of employees who took part in the study said that their workload was too great to call in sick and interestingly, 80% of staff said that they would not take time off work for stress-related illnesses. It’s clear that there’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of supporting staff with mental health issues, and tackling the stigma that often exists around non-physical health and wellbeing. 

There are however, certain things that you can do as an employer to make sure that presenteeism doesn’t knock you off course. 

The simplest solution is to ensure that you have a sickness and absence policy that’s fit for purpose and focuses on supporting your staff.  When creating your policies, it’s important that you consider how you’ll be playing your part in creating positive change.

If you have issues in your workplace surrounding sickness absence, then it may be time to call in the professionals. We can assess the effectiveness of your existing policies and procedures, ensure that you’re compliant with relevant legislation, and help you to move forward towards exemplary leadership.  If you would like to discuss this further with one of the team please fill in the Contact Form to the right of the screen or give us a call on 01604 763494.