How to address presenteeism in organisations
As organisations continue to focus on reducing absenteeism, presenteeism remains a problem that’s unaddressed. With the cost and occurrence of presenteeism being higher than absenteeism, why aren’t organisations focusing more it? Dr. David Batman, GCC Chief Medical Officer, says that addressing presenteeism directly is challenging because it’s often symptoms of a deeper issue faced by employees. The unknown and unpredictability of life affects all of us and we all deal with issues in a different way.
Clayton Warren, DFP Commercial Manager states that it’s important to understand that unfortunate or unexpected issues can come up with all your employees. “Some staff members may come down with a serious illness, be involved in an accident, or even experience some financial stress which can seriously affect their performance at work.” Dr. Batman finds that “17% of the workforce will be affected by some form of psychological problem and one in four people will suffer from a major diagnosable mental health disorder in their lifetime.” Given these uncertainties, workplaces need to have a plan in place for managing staff during difficult times.
Dr. Batman also says that presenteeism is easy to spot if you know the signs. Some of which are below,
Lack of sleep – Sleep patterns may decline which would affect concentration and attention to detail at work
Demotivation – Lack of engagement with their work and unconcerned about outcomes
Poor performance – Displaying tardiness, more altercations with colleagues
Uncover the cause
While managers may think they’ve identified the issues relating to a staff members low productivity, most often these are merely symptoms and not the genuine cause. In order to uncover the actual cause, managers must work towards building a supportive culture and a resilient team. This cannot be achieved over night or in a matter of weeks. It has to be a collective initiative of the organisation that’s deeply embedded in the culture.
Below are the four main categories of issues faced by employees:
Once the causes and issues of presenteeism have been identified, the impact and positive influence can be immediate. As a starting point, organisation should less concerned about how many sick days employees are taking and instead look at their focus and energy at work.