Presenteeism is a term used to describe when workers come to work despite the fact that they’re sick or injured. Why would a worker who, say, has the flu come to work instead of staying home and getting better? In some cases, they may feel that they have no choice.
In fact, when we recently asked if you feel pressured to come to work when you’re sick, 38% of respondents said yes, while another 21% said sometimes.
Our poll findings are consistent with a study that found that high job demands, stress and job insecurity are among the main reasons for presenteeism.
Why should safety professionals care about presenteeism?
Because presenteeism has not only been linked to lower job performance, exacerbation of health problems and impacts on well-being, but also may impact workplace safety. For example, read about a tragic incident in which presenteeism appears to be a factor.
To try to prevent presenteeism and its possible consequences, it’s in your best interests to help workers stay healthy. For example, hold flu shot clinics in the workplace to make it easy for workers to get vaccinated.
Also, consider implementing wellness programs, which can aid workers in improving their overall health by helping them lose weight, quit smoking, exercise regularly, etc.
And with the start of a new year right around the corner—a time when many people make health-related resolutions—it’s a good time to take steps to help workers meet their goals. (This recorded webinar explains how to motivate employees to achieve their wellness resolutions with external motivation and your support as an employer.)