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  • Karen Burgess

Presenteeism - you need to know about this

In simple terms, presenteeism means you physically show up to work, but due to exhaustion, burnout or poor mental health, your productivity levels are down.

Being present at work but with reduced output.

The four main causes of presenteeism are unhealthy lifestyles, workers with illnesses going to work, allergies and asthma, poor work-life balance and high levels of work related stress.

Safe Work Australia study of workers suggests that presenteeism costs businesses more than absenteeism. It cost Australian workplaces approximately $6.1 billion

Some employers believe that employees coming to work while under the weather is no bad thing: it shows a certain level of dedication, after all, and it means absence levels are down. However, the reality is that sick employees are likely to be ineffective, and their impaired performance could lead to errors in judgement that cost time and money to fix.

A study found that the cost of presenteeism in the workplace could account for one-and-a-half times the cost of sick leave.


What's one of thing to think about when it comes to presenteeism in your service?

Believe it or, employees with health problems, especially mental-health related ones, often feel unable to disclose them to their manager. And managers are rarely trained to support them effectively if or when they do. It’s vital that your managers are educated to notice the signals associated with employees experiencing high levels of stress or mental health problems, and that they feel equipped to have open and supportive conversations with them about their health. Workplace training and awareness raising of common mental and physical health issues will help reduce stigma and provide people with a better understanding of workplace wellbeing.


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