The importance of looking after the wellbeing of your staff

The impact of presenteeism in the workplace

You may be familiar with absenteeism – a term referring to an employee’s unplanned absences at work, often due to illnesses that they don’t want to disclose with their employer. But how about presenteeism? It’s on the rise in the UK and is becoming a big factor in cases of burnout and stress in the workplace.

But, what is presenteeism? It refers to someone going to work when they’re not up to it – physically or mentally. And so, despite being there, they’re often not able to perform at their best – with their productivity suffering as a result. A lot of us have probably experienced this to some degree. The term also extends to workers who put in unnecessary long hours just to be seen at their desks.

An employee struggling with presenteeism

The rise of presenteeism

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)’s annual survey focusing on health and wellbeing at work found that an alarming 83% of respondents witnessed presenteeism in their organisation, along with 37% reporting an increase in stress-related absence at work. Simply put – staff still coming to work whilst not feeling well (and performing work of a substandard quality as a result) is on the increase, and this can create a vicious cycle of added stress.

The same survey also found that 50% of respondents felt that their managers were on board with the importance of wellbeing. Not bad, you may say? But, this figure means that half of all workers feel that their management do not take their wellbeing seriously. This can contribute to staff fearing that their bosses might not accept stress and mental wellbeing as a ‘good enough’ excuse to not be at work, again adding to the rising problem of presenteeism. If an employee’s problems aren’t taken seriously in the early stages, they’re at a higher risk of making themselves more ill and needing to take time off to recover.

Preventing presenteeism - the cost and benefits

Managers not prioritising staff welfare may find themselves surprised to hear that according to calculations by the Centre for Mental Health, presenteeism costs UK businesses £15.1 billion per year, almost double that of absenteeism. Proving that looking after employees makes economic sense as well as being a caring, healthy place to work. So, what can employers do to tackle presenteeism?

Presenteeism isn’t always obvious. You can easily see which of your staff members are turning up for work – but how much do you know about whether an illness or medical condition is affecting their ability to perform at their best? Communication, empathy and flexibility are key for employers, as is working to create a work environment that allows staff to feel confident enough to speak up about any pressures they’re experiencing, or any ill health that may be affecting them. Companies who promote positive wellbeing initiatives are likely to benefit from employees feeling better about opening up, and therefore seeing increased productivity.

Increase productivity with wellbeing initiatives

As an employer, there are many things you can do to ensure your workforce is at its best and avoid presenteeism. Empowering your employees to manage their own wellbeing using online self-help can be a beneficial way to support them. The Minddistrict online platform allows your staff to access training modules on topics such as work stress, practicing mindfulness, managing their finances and building self-esteem. You can increase the productivity among your employees, whilst enabling them to carry care in their back pocket and work on themselves anytime, anywhere. All contributing to a happy, healthy workplace!

Start empowering your staff

Interested in offering online self-help in your organisation, but not sure where to start?

Discover the Minddistrict solution for the workplace!