Problems of presenteeism

Worker absenteeism has long been seen as cost to employers – now it seems that being excessively present could prove even costlier.
Since the term “presenteeism” was first coined few years ago by Cary Cooper, professor in the organisational management department at Manchester University, there’s been lot more attention paid to the problem of people not knowing when to stop.
“Presenteeists” work long hours or drag themselves to their desks despite feeling lousy. And although many are driven by their own dedication, much of the blame can be attributed to “long-hours” work culture.
Over the past few years the number of employees working more (often unpaid) overtime has increased both offshore and in New Zealand. But the implicit expectation that employees go beyond the call of duty is ultimately self defeating as long hours do not equate to productivity. The reality is that tired, sick or burnt out workers are dragging rather than boosting the bottom line.
In the United States, it’s been estimated that presenteeism costs employers around US$180 billion year. That’s supported by two recent surveys of productivity and overtime in Australia carried out by corporate health specialist Healthworks.
These found many people were coming to work with headaches, colds and flu, or fatigue and depression when they’d have been better off taking time out to recover.
Healthworks says the problem is not only more prevalent than absenteeism but is estimated to cost employers seven times as much.
To combat presenteeism, companies are advised to put limit on individual overtime, encourage workers to take their allotted leave time and to stay home when sick or depressed.

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