Absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace, though triggered by different factors, are big issues in companies of all shapes and sizes. Both of these issues have a major effect on employee productivity, and therefore, an organization’s bottom line. Absenteeism is defined as when employees have an unscheduled absence, while presenteeism is when employees are at work, but they aren’t actually working.
Of course, talking about what these issues are is just one part of the puzzle. While it’s important to understand what they are and how they might affect a company, it’s also important to understand exactly why they happen, which fits into a much larger conversation about workplace wellness, culture and morale.
To start, let’s dive into each issue a bit further.
Absenteeism is arguably a bit easier to quantify as it’s easy to see when employees aren’t at work due to unplanned circumstances like illnesses, deaths in the family, issues at home and more. Absenteeism rates tend to go up the more disengaged employees are, and absenteeism rates go down when managers put into place a strong absence policy and efficient attendance tracking.
Presenteeism, on the other hand, is much more difficult to quantify. Employees come to work and they’re physically there, but once in the office, they’re not productive. Presenteeism is more likely to occur when employees are suffering from heavy workloads or don’t feel secure at work. Strong management and promoting well-being at work are two effective ways to fight presenteeism in the workplace.
This infographic illustrates the difference between both absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace, highlighting the rates of each issue and the impressive toll it’s taking on businesses in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The numbers alone are reason enough to take a deeper look at the absenteeism and presenteeism rates in your organization. But of course, looking at those rates is just the first step to truly addressing these issues. That’s exactly why we’ve gone straight to the experts for their advice on tackling absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace. Six human resources professionals weigh in with their top tips for promoting a healthier work environment while fighting absenteeism and presenteeism in today’s workplace.