Workplace Presenteeism – A Danger To The Modern Business? How Does Presenteeism Affect Your Business?
A recent study carried out by health insurer Vitality has found that more than 40% of employees believe their work is being
affected by their health problems – a figure that has risen by a third over the last five years. So, with almost half of employees putting their work ahead of their physical and mental health, something must need changing? After all, every business owner, manager or supervisor will always claim an employees health is more important.
However, these figures show that employees either believe, or are forced to, put their jobs ahead of their health. That problem is compounded by modern workplace
absence management techniques such as the Bradford Factor, which can punish employees for taking time off when they are genuinely ill. So, the question remains, does a full office mean your team are at their most productive? Or does 100% attendance mean that you rarely get 100% productivity. Because, realistically, an employee who’s present but suffering from an illness is not only unable to deliver 100% productivity but they’re actually more likely to spread their illness, impacting those around them. So, as an employer, surely it would make sense to reduce workplace presenteeism? In fact, with the current COVID-19 pandemic, workplace presenteeism is potentially one of the biggest threats to the modern workplace. Why Workplace Presenteeism Is So Dangerous
Having an employee who is coughing, spluttering and suffering is much more detrimental to your business than you may realise. It’s also detrimental to the employee. And shockingly, with Vitality finding that 40% of employees believe their work is suffering due to their health, it shows that we haven’t yet embraced a culture of allowing employees time off when poorly without judgement or stigma. In fact, with COVID-19 running rampant, having an employee coughing and spluttering is irresponsible from all parties. Your employees should feel comfortable to take time off when they’re genuinely ill. To do this you need to remove the blame culture that many employees feel when reporting absences. After all, if calling in sick is going to get you in trouble, you’d be less likely to do it when you need to. But is your business doing enough to protect the health of your staff?
What You Can Do As An Employer
As an employer you have a duty to protect your business as well as your staff. This means setting the correct tone from the top all way through your company. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one size fits all solution. However, reducing workplace presenteeism can be achieved by setting the right policies, procedures and creating an inclusive working environment, free from judgement or stigmas. At the ELAS Group, we can help you put everything in place to help reduce workplace presenteeism and ensure a healthier, happier workforce for your business. Our consultants are available 24/7 and will work with you to put everything in place. But what kinds of changes should you be considering?
Employment Law and HR Changes
The first thing is to review your
sickness and absence policies. Are they inclusive? Restrictive? Do they include sick pay? Is your HR team approachable? Do you promote a culture of acceptance if an employee is absent due to ill health? Do you monitor the absence trends of your employees, spotting any signs or symptoms your employees may be struggling? Whatever your answers to the above, there is always room for improvement. By changing the perception of illness within your workplace you will help foster a culture that will not see absent employees as weak, lazy or less dedicated for taking time off when unwell.
The uncomfortable truth for most employers however, is that they simply don’t do enough to make periods of illness something their staff can afford. The sad truth is, and you’ll have heard it from your own staff, many employees simply can’t afford to take time off sick. As a business owner, this is something that you can easily address. By providing limited company sick pay, you’ll be encouraging your staff to behave responsibly and not abuse sick leave. And, let’s be honest, that’s the number one concern for many business owners. In fact, many still believe that if they provide company sick pay, staff will take advantage of it. That’s why it’s so important to set the right tone from top to bottom in your company. Correcting this mentality can easily reduce workplace presenteeism, improve staff morale and attract more qualified employees to your company.
Occupational Health Occupational health is moving to the forefront of a lot of businesses, and rightly so, as it is an effective way of improving the health and wellbeing of your employees. If HR spots a health concern or an employee makes it known that they are suffering, this is an opportunity for occupational health to step in. There are many ways occupational health can help reduce presenteeism in your business, including management referrals, health and wellbeing days, counselling, therapy and health assessments.
Occupational health has largely been viewed as reactive, for example, you know your employee has a health issue, therefore you should refer them to talk to a medical professional to explore the issue further. However, businesses will really see a difference if they embrace a proactive occupational health culture. You can do this by monitoring absence trends, holding wellbeing days and much more. This way, you can nip potential health problems in the bud before they become an issue. Additionally, your employees will also be healthier and happier!
It can be quite a challenge reducing your presenteeism levels, however it can be done. Absenteeism may be the issue we talk about, but presenteeism is the one we need to watch out for. Speak to one of our team today to see how we can help. Simply call 08450 50 40 60 or compete the contact form and we’ll be in touch soon!