Is Presenteeism The Silent Productivity Killer?
Presenteeism is a key issue within many modern businesses, particularly in the current climate following the coronavirus pandemic. Presenteeism is the act of an employee continuing to work when they should not be working, such as working without breaks or…
Blog21st Sep 2023
Presenteeism is a key issue within many modern businesses, particularly in the current climate following the coronavirus pandemic. Presenteeism is the act of an employee continuing to work when they should not be working, such as working without breaks or when they are unwell.
A survey by the Office of National Statistics found that between 2019 and 2022, homeworking in the UK increased by 108%. This was thought to have been brought about by the coronavirus pandemic which drastically changed the way in which people work.
Following this change, key markers of presenteeism began to emerge. A survey by the CIPD found that reports of presenteeism in home workers increased from 77% in 2021 to 81% in 2022. Additionally, in 2022 HR Software Timetastic found that fewer than 40% of surveyed adults in the UK took all of their annual leave within the previous 12-month period.
This can create several issues for both employers and employees. Firstly, for employees, it can increase the risk of burnout and other mental health conditions. According to research conducted by Mental Health UK, 1 in 5 UK workers felt as though they could not manage pressure and stress levels at work. They found that workplace stress was on the rise and many employers were not equipped to manage this. In an attempt to counteract stress and burnout levels, Hootsuite gave their 1000 employees a paid week off work. A subsequent survey found that this improved employees’ mental health and overall productivity, therefore emphasising the importance of taking time away from work.
For employers, presenteeism corresponds to several negative outcomes. According to the BBC, when employees are working more than they should, productivity “plummets”. It is estimated that on average, 35 working days are lost per employee per year due to presenteeism.
The key takeaway from this is that both businesses and line managers should be taking steps to reduce presenteeism and should ensure that their employees are getting as much as possible out of their annual leave entitlement. Time off is essential both for employee wellbeing and business outcomes, and should be a key focus moving forwards, particularly as hybrid and home working gains popularity.
If you are looking to discuss your business’ current working model and how to alleviate the potential negative effects of burnout and presenteeism please do not hesitate to get in contact with one of our HR & Employment Law Experts.