Presenteeism peaks at this time of the year

Presenteeism peaks in the winter months of a year, which leads to a heightened impact on a businesses’ productivity and the quality of work produced.

This is according to Robert Half, who found that the winter months of the year presenteeism is at 71 per cent, with London having the highest level of the country at 83 per cent. Presenteeism, when someone comes into the office despite feeling unwell.

Following winter, school holidays are the second highest period of the year that presenteeism exists at 62 per cent. When the financial year-ends comes in at 52 per cent and the summer months at 48 per cent.

The most common way to alleviate presenteeism seems to be offering flexible working with 45 per cent of businesses holding this opinion.

Just under a third (31 per cent) believe monitoring workloads help reduce presenteeism, 31 per cent offer remote working and 27 per cent increase holiday allowance.

Matt Weston, managing director of Robert Half UK, said:

Presenteeism is the invisible burden on business productivity. It’s not always apparent when someone is feeling unwell or how much an illness or medical condition is impacting their work, especially if they look fine. Productivity loss resulting from genuine health problems is a serious issue for employers and employees alike, but it is often overlooked.

Presenteeism is often linked to workplace culture and how employees believe they would be perceived if they were to take a day off for illness. There are steps that employers can take to shift these perceptions, most notably by implementing employee wellbeing initiatives. Flexible working, offering complementary healthcare or simply encouraging team members to leave the office on time will have a positive impact. Education is also critical. Ensuring every employee knows the company leave policy and debunking any perceptions that this leave shouldn’t be taken is a good place to start.

Employee well-being is central to job satisfaction and engagement at work, which in turn impacts a company’s bottom line. Whether direct or indirect, it’s important that employers and employees acknowledge the risks of presenteeism collectively to create an engaged and happy workplace culture.

This study was developed by Robert Half and conducted in October 2019 by an independent research firm among 600 C-suite and business leaders in the UK. This survey is part of an international study on hiring trends and career ambitions in the modern workplace.