The Problem with Presenteeism in the Workplace

Posted on Monday, October 15, 2018 by The Office Zen MasterNo comments

Presenteeism is when employees attend work despite having an illness that would cause them to take time off. It’s a pervasive and growing problem in offices across the UK. A recent study from the Canada Life Group highlighted some alarming statistics—47% of employees didn’t take a single sick day in 2017, while 88% admitted they go into the office when suffering from minor illnesses. So let’s take a look at why presenteeism is a problem, and what we can do about it.

How does presenteeism affect the workplace?

First and foremost, presenteeism poses a significant health risk to other employees. If the illness is contagious, there is a risk of multiple employees catching and transmitting it. This means potentially more workers taking time off sick—or more presenteeism, leading to an unsafe working environment. It can also be a huge detriment to workplace morale, which can have a persistent negative impact on a business, both in the short and long term.

How does presenteeism affect employees?

For employees, working whilst ill can contribute to stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. It can also create a cascading issue, where an unwell employee works instead of recovering, causing their condition to worsen. This means their illness takes longer to get over, and if they do end up taking time off, it lasts longer. In fact, research shows the average length of time off sick went up from 2.8 days in 2016 to 4.4 days in 2017.

How can we help employers?

As a leading London recruitment agency, we encourage all employers to consider flexible working for their employees and provide cover for unwell staff. A widely-supported solution is increasing the cover and flexible working options, and a recent survey found that 28% of people felt flexible working options would improve their physical and mental health.

We have temporary staff available to cover absence on short notice, which means businesses can turn to us to make sure their employees are getting the recuperation time they need. Feel free to contact us today to find out how our recruitment solutions can help you create a healthy, productive, and comfortable work environment in your organisation.

How can we help employees?

At our office support and PA recruitment agency, we have a range of jobs that offer flexible working options, meaning employees know they can manage their hours to better look after their health. Whether you’re looking for a part-time job to ease yourself back into the workplace after an absence or a PA job with flexible hours, get in touch today and we can help you find a job that supports your health.


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