Presenteeism is an increasingly common workplace issue that can have a negative effect on both employee productivity and morale. It occurs when an employee is present at work, but their performance is hindered by physical or mental health problems. It can also be caused by an employee feeling overwhelmed, lacking motivation, or facing increased stress levels.
At its core, presenteeism is a form of unhealthy work culture. It’s not just about being physically present — it’s about being productive and engaged. When employees are dealing with physical or mental health issues, they are unlikely to be as productive or creative as they would be if they were feeling well.
Understanding the signs of presenteeism is important for employers to recognize when their employees may be struggling and to take the necessary steps to support them. Here are the main signs of presenteeism in the workplace:
1. Increased Absenteeism
One of the most obvious signs of presenteeism is increased absenteeism. When an employee is struggling with their health, they may be more likely to call in sick or take days off. This could be due to their physical or mental health, or they may just not feel up to their normal workload. Regardless, it’s important to take note of any increases in absenteeism and to look into the underlying cause.
2. Poor Performance
Another sign of presenteeism is a drop in performance. Employees who are dealing with physical or mental health issues may not be able to perform at their usual level. This could manifest in a number of ways, such as missing deadlines, making mistakes, or taking longer to complete tasks. It’s important to keep an eye out for any sudden drops in performance and to address them promptly.
3. Low Engagement
When an employee is struggling with their health, they may not be as engaged with their work as they would be if they were feeling well. They may appear to be uninterested in the tasks they are assigned, or they may be less likely to participate in meetings or team activities. This could be a sign that the employee is dealing with a physical or mental issue and is struggling to stay engaged.
Burnout is a common sign of presenteeism. It occurs when an employee is feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with their workload. They may be working long hours and feeling like they can’t keep up. It’s important to recognize burnout quickly and to take steps to prevent it from becoming a long-term problem.
Finally, one of the most common signs of presenteeism is unhappiness. If an employee is struggling with their health, they may not enjoy their work as much as they usually do. This could lead to a decrease in morale, which can have a negative effect on the entire team.
Recognizing the signs of presenteeism is the first step in addressing the issue. It’s important for employers to be aware of the warning signs and to take the necessary steps to support their employees. This could include offering flexible working hours, providing access to mental health resources, or simply checking in with employees to make sure they are feeling okay. Taking proactive steps to reduce presenteeism can create a healthier and more productive work environment for everyone.