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Reviewed by Annapoorna | Updated on Jan 29, 2021


What is Meant by Presenteeism?

Presenteeism is characterised as the issue of employees not working entirely in the workplace due to an illness, injury, or other condition. While the employee may be physically at work, he may not be able to carry out his duties entirely. He may be more likely to make mistakes in the job.

Presenteeism is relatively common in most workplaces, but it is a topic that is not generally discussed. We all have one coworker who still shows up to work even though she may feel ill, is harmed or is going through some stressful situation.

Presenteeism Explained

The employees engage in presenteeism for several reasons. These include:

  • Fear of job loss
  • Lack of an adequate number of sick days/leave, not enough idle time off/breaks, or unwilling to go on vacation/sabbatical.
  • Loyalty to the company in which one is employed
  • Feelings of not being replaced at the workplace
  • Shortage in staffing
  • Diminishing chances of career advancement

For example, even if she is feeling under the weather, a doctor can show up to work. She may be the clinic's only doctor, may feel a sense of duty to her patients or may even be afraid of losing any of her patients.

Presenteeism is a somewhat underreported problem relative to absenteeism. Still, as workplaces become more demanding of their employees, people are increasingly beginning to shed more light on this.

Some of the key reasons it has gone under the radar are that it can be hard to calculate how efficient or unproductive an employee can be.

Effect of Presenteeism

In short, presenteeism costs money for employers. While an employee may consider he is doing good by still reporting for work despite being hurt, depressed, or sick, this is not always the case. In fact, the opposite is true.

That's because he could end up being less effective or, worse still, make more errors while on the job. All of these can cost the company so much more than if he'd stay home. For instance, if a sick employee attends office, he is likely to spread his sickness to other employees.

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