What is Presenteeism?
Dedicated employees will often espouse the virtues of always being at work, never taking a sick day or mental health day or having a perfect attendance rating on the job. This sounds like a great track record for a good employee to have, but what of an employee who shows up on the job when they are too sick to be functional?
A relatively new term in the business industry known as presenteeism, a play on the word absenteeism, has quickly become a corporate buzz word.
Presenteeism is not yet defined in the dictionary, but has quickly become part of the American lexicon. Essentially, presenteeism occurs when employees come to work when they really shouldn’t. While presenteeism can include employees who come to work shortly after giving birth; after the death of a relative, friend or close family member; with a debilitating injury, or with some other condition that causes the employee to function below standards – presenteeism most frequently refers to employees who show up to work while ill, instead of using a sick day.
Presenteeism also can be carried a bit further to the point where employees, feeling they need to make a good impression on the boss to advance their careers, come in early, work through lunches or stay late, even when there are no duties to perform.
It is true that sick pay and time employees take off from work does affect the bottom line for an employer, but new studies are showing that presenteeism is actually costing employers more in the end than if the employee had just called in sick.
Presenteeism can also affect the employee in a negative way too.
Let’s look at how presenteeism can affect an employee first, and then we’ll take a look at how presenteeism affects employers.
As an employee, absenteeism has been discouraged. We all pretty much know that if you miss too many days of work, your job can be in jeopardy. Additionally, when two or more employees are up for a promotion, it’s common knowledge that when work proficiency and all other things are equal, the employee who works a bit longer, bit harder, or goes that little extra mile is more likely to receive the promotion than one who only shows up to work during normal business hours.
However, employees who feel that they must work extra hours in order to get ahead, whether the work actually requires this additional time or not, might well be building up a resentment for having to work that extra time. This breeds negativity and contempt toward the employer and can potentially leave the employee with a bad attitude, feeling overworked and underappreciated, and in turn, the quality of the work may decline.
Additionally, the employee’s morale and personal emotional state is negatively affected. Employees who frequently feel they must work extra hours, come in when they are sick, work later, stay through lunches, etc., will often find themselves flustered and upset when the company has to follow certain rules and won’t make an exception for them. “But I stay late all the time, I work through my lunches, what do you mean I can’t have Friday off?”
For the employer, presenteeism can really hurt production of work, quality of work, and hurt the payroll too. One employee may need 8 hours to do a specific job while another employee may take only 4 hours to do the same job. The employee who works the longer hours might well be seen by others as the more dedicated employee, when the one who finished faster and had the same quality of work actually makes more money and uses less of the company’s resources than the other employee.
It’s really not fair when this happens, and the employee who can finish faster will soon realize they are not being fairly considered for working faster, so the work will slow, production decreases, and quality of the work might very well decrease too. This hurts the company overall. To avoid this, a company really needs to learn to reward and acknowledge employees for the output and work itself, and put less focus on the actual number of hours an employee works.
Now, let’s look at presenteeism as it pertains to working while sick. Yes, it costs the company money and time to have an employee call in sick. However, when an employee comes to work while sick, the quality of their work simply will not be as good as if they are not sick. When an employee is sick, they probably will take longer to perform their job duties too. In addition to this, an employee who is present at work while ill is much more likely to make mistakes – and we all know that correcting errors takes more time than actually slowing down and getting it right the first time.
Presenteeism can negatively impact the bottom line for employers when an employee comes to work sick, exposes the other employees to contagious illnesses, and thus causes other employees to become ill, miss work, or decrease their productivity too.
Many employers are learning that presenteeism doesn’t necessarily mean an employee is a better employee, more dedicated or a better performer – additionally, presenteeism can negatively impact the employer’s bottom line. A link of the website is provided on the website. The person can click to find out more about the presenteeism. The term has both the positive as well as negative aspect for the business.
Therefore, do what’s best for your company and yourself. If you are sick, take a sick day and allow yourself to recuperate. If you do not need to work extra hours to get the job done, then work the scheduled hours and don’t kill yourself. While the brownnosers of the world will win in the short term, your hard work and dedication will come through in the end, so take the time to take care of your health needs and mental health needs first, and be satisfied in knowing that taking a sick day when you really are sick actually is better for your company than going to work.