· 1 min read · Features



Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University, says that presenteeism (coming to work while unhealthy or working unnecessarily long hours) may be as bad for business as absenteeism.

“In a normative sample population of 39,000 working people, it was found that 28% suffered from sickness presenteeism,” he says. Further research by Robertson Cooper has found that only 35% of employees are “fully functioning” at work.

And the Centre of Mental Health has calculated that presenteeism frommental ill health alone costs the UK economy £15.1 billion per annum. Tackling presenteeism is complex, as many of the HR metrics for measuring wellbeing relate to absenteeism, which may be masking the opposite problem. It all comes down to culture and making sure people are rewarded for their outputs, not the time they put in. Rethinking the organisation’s stance on flexible working can help. And investing in staff health and wellbeing is as crucial to avoiding presenteeism as it is
absenteeism – because what’s the point in having employees at work if they are too ill or disengaged to put anything in?