Presenteeism: What is it and The Causes Behind It

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Employee absenteeism is becoming a serious problem in various companies in the United States. On average it can cost a business around $3,000 per absent employee. If you take into account that about 2.8% of your employees will be absent for one year, that’s about $84,000 in lost productivity.

However, this isn’t the only concern that businesses have. Presenteeism is also plaguing the business world, and it has the possibility of costing companies more.

What is Presenteeism?

Presenteeism is defined as employees who come to work but are not productive. They might be physically present, but they’re not mentally present. Essentially, an employee that goes to work and daydreams the whole time is a good example of presenteeism. However, daydreaming isn’t the only reason why it happens. Here are the main reasons why employees practice presenteeism.

Don’t Want to Use Vacation Leaves

In some cultures, using up all your vacation days is considered a sign of weakness. For example, in the United States, there’s this unspoken rule that you should only take a maximum of two weeks off. Anything more than that, and you’re viewed as slacking off. This is especially true for millennials who are just starting their careers.

Many employees would rather come to work even if they’re sick because they don’t want to use their vacation leaves. Instead, they’d rather save them for when they need them, such as for an emergency or a family matter.

Employees too tired to work and sleeping instead

Workplace Culture

The culture in some workplaces can also lead to presenteeism. For example, if the workplace is very competitive, some employees might feel like they need to be there even if they’re sick. They don’t want to fall behind and give their competitors an edge.

This is especially true in places where face time is essential, such as the corporate world. If you’re not seen at your desk, then superiors might assume that you’re slacking off.

Lack of Support

Some employees might also come to work even if they feel unwell because they don’t feel like they have any other choice. This is often due to a lack of support from their superiors.

If an employee doesn’t feel like their boss has their back, they might need to prove themselves. They might do this by coming to work even if they’re not feeling their best.

Fear of Job Loss

Lastly, some employees might come to work even if they’re sick because they fear losing their job. This is especially true in unstable industries or during tough economic times.

If an employee feels like they might be laid off, they’ll do whatever it takes to keep their job—even if it means coming in to work when they’re not feeling well.

Lost Productivity

Lost productivity is the most apparent consequence of presenteeism. When employees come to work sick, they’re not going to be as productive as they would be if they were healthy. As a result, it can significantly impact a company’s bottom line.

Research has shown that employees who come to work sick are more likely to make mistakes. It’s because they’re not thinking as clearly when they’re not feeling well. So how can you reduce presenteeism? One way to do it is to improve dental health.

Improve Dental Health

A study has found that more than half of presenteeism is due to dental health problems. However, dental health problems aren’t a reason enough for employees to use their sick or vacation leave. Moreover, they often have the mindset that it’ll go away eventually. However, they cost the business money for going to work while not being mentally present.

One way you can improve dental health in your office is by offering benefits. Benefits such as a free visit to the dental office every year can make a huge difference in employee dental health. They can also increase job satisfaction in the long run because it shows that you care for them.

Unlimited Vacation Days

Another way to reduce presenteeism is by offering unlimited vacation days. It might seem counterintuitive, but it works.

When you offer unlimited vacation days, employees feel they can take the time off they need without worrying about using up all their days. In addition, it often leads to them being more productive at work because they’re not worried about taking time off.

Of course, you must have an excellent system to ensure employees use their vacation days. Otherwise, it won’t work as intended.

Presenteeism is a severe issue that can harm businesses. Employees who come to work sick are not as productive as they would be if they were healthy, and this can lead to lost profits for companies. But by following the options we’ve indicated above, you can save your company from presenteeism. This can help you increase productivity and save money in the long run.

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