How to tackle Presenteeism in the Workplace

According to a recent survey by CIPD, 86% of respondents said they had observed presenteeism in their organisation over the last 12 months, compared with 72% in 2016 and just 26% in 2010. 

Presenteeism – it’s a problem that’s increasing in prevalence, but many employers still aren’t taking steps to tackle it. According to a recent survey by CIPD, 86% of respondents said they had observed presenteeism in their organisation over the last 12 months, compared with 72% in 2016 and just 26% in 2010.

Presenteeism is when employees are physically present in the workplace, but due to physical illness, stress or mental health issues, they may be less productive, less engaged and less motivated.

It might be the case in your organisation that employee absence rates have decreased, which at first sounds positive – but are your employees at the top of their game? In the long run, presenteeism can even prove costlier to your organisation than absenteeism. This is why it’s key for you to implement an employee benefits package that places a focus on both.

The first step to tackling presenteeism is asking yourself if your organisation’s employee benefits package is doing anything to prevent it. Do your employees have access to a support system to help with stress? Is your sick pay programme up to scratch? These are the things you’ll need to focus on, as well as cultivating a positive workplace culture, to mitigate the effects of illness and stress.

The next step is to provide answers to the questions. If you don’t have a support system in place for your employees, consider an Employee Assistance Programme, which can offer confidential telephone support for your employees to talk about things that are causing them stress, such as physical illness, financial worries and mental health. This can help reduce presenteeism by offering an avenue for employees to tackle stress and receive counselling.

Are your employees confident about your Income Protection programme? If not, it’s a good idea to review your processes to ensure your employees have financial peace of mind if they do become ill. This can help reduce presenteeism by letting your employees know that support is available if they need it, and that they don’t need to come to work when they are too unwell to do so.

The third step is to communicate with your employees. Let them know your organisation cares and is there to support them. Let them know that you have an employee benefits package in place to help if they do fall ill or need to talk. Most importantly – let your employees know that their presence is valued, but that their wellbeing is a priority above all else. After all, what’s your organisation without the hard work of your employees?