Presenteeism: the new absenteeism

Otherwise known as the ‘nothing to see here’ syndrome, employees are now more frequently presenting in the office when they’re unfit for work, rather than taking sick days. In the financial industry alone, presenteeism has tripled in the last ten years.

Where absenteeism is very easy to spot, presenteeism can easily slip under the radar. Signs of presenteeism include producing a lower standard of work, reduced attention to detail, looking visibly tired or unwell, missing lunch breaks and working extended hours. Presenting at work when unfit is obviously not good for either the employer or the employee, and can be one of the first signs that someone is burning out.

The biggest contributing factors are high workload or stressful work environments, not considering illness serious enough to warrant taking time off, having nobody to cover workload or feeling guilty about having others pick up the slack while you’re unable to perform your duties. Not to mention that in some work cultures, employees may be judged for taking sick leave. And when it comes to mental health versus physical health, the lines are blurred even further.

So, what can be done? Creating a culture that values wellbeing, openness and honesty is the first step to ensure employees are mentally and physically healthy, and feel comfortable and supported to speak up about any issues they may be facing.

Give your staff the training and tools they need to combat presenteeism and burnout by booking a Breakfast at Epiphany’s event for your organisation.