Why Presenteeism Might be Worse Than Absenteeism – And How to Fix This

Many workplaces consider absenteeism to be a big issue that affects the company’s bottom line.

However, it may be that presenteeism is just as big of a problem. In fact, presenteeism may be an even larger issue than absenteeism.

Here’s what employers should know about this phenomenon — and how a sound workplace wellness program can help.

What Is Presenteeism?

When an employee shows up sick at work, then they are guilty of presenteeism. Being at work while sick often means trying to function with impaired cognitive abilities.

People suffering from an illness, whether it is physical or mental, are less productive. Their thought processes are fuzzy and they tend to show less decisiveness. In short, they may be at work, but their ability to perform in their usual capacity is highly impaired.

How Does Presenteeism Hurt Companies?Sick Woman

Simply put, presenteeism costs organizations money. That lost productivity is difficult to make up, and ill employees are far more likely to make errors that will require significant correction and backtracking.

Presenteeism also helps to spread illness to other workers. Even customers may contract an illness after having contact with a sick employee.

Unfortunately, workers often feel that they have no choice but to show up even if they are sick. Organizations are competitive, and employees don’t want to lose their edge.

Fixing the Presenteeism Problem

Employers first need to recognize that workers are showing up when they’d be better off at home. Adjustments to sick and personal leave policies may be necessary. Affording workers more paid days off for illness might seem expensive, but it can improve the bottom line when people are only showing up healthy and ready to go.

It’s important to communicate to employees that presenteeism is not encouraged by the organization. Much can be gained in worker morale and productivity levels simply by making it known that no one is expected to work while sick.

Workplace Wellness Can Combat Presenteeism AND Absenteeism

Test Smartly Labs nationwide are equipped to provide full workplace wellness assistance to prevent prensenteeism. We offer on-site immunizations to protect your workers during flu season — and we even offer telehealth services for businesses to provide convenient, affordable healthcare to their employees.

To learn more about our workplace wellness offerings or telehealth services, contact your nearest Test Smartly Labs location!


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