Why presenteeism isn’t necessarily a bad thing

With around 66% of businesses now working remotely, the importance of employers managing presenteeism is even more critical. Job flexibility has increased, but for many, so has work pressure.

Many employees are feeling compelled to demonstrate availability to their employers, and when home has become office, it becomes even harder to switch off from work. As a result, there is an increased risk of presenteeism impacting not only on employee health but also productivity.

When the majority of employees were in the office, it was easier for managers to intervene when they spotted an employee struggling with a physical or mental health issue.

However, for those working from home, this can be very difficult. Employees are potentially left much more to their ‘own devices’ in managing their health and productivity.

Not only is it potentially more difficult to spot employee health issues, but the question of whether an employee should remain working or take sick leave, is a complicated one.

For example, compared to sickness absenteeism, presenteeism still provides a level of productivity. If managed appropriately, it can help improve employees’ mental health by providing a sense of achievement, structure, social support and the feeling of being included which are essential for wellbeing.

Consequently, when the work demands are adjusted to the health condition, presenteeism can aid recovery. Equally, one does not need to wait until an individual is 100% healthy before returning to work activities; adjusted working during illness can provide a means of facilitating a gradual return to full working capacity.

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