1 in 3 employes say more staff are going to work despite being ill

17 February 2016

New CIPD research finds long hours and a focus on operational demands over employee wellbeing are fuelling an increase in presenteeism.

Nearly a third of employers have reported an increase in people coming to work while they are ill, according to the annual CPID/Simplyhealth Absence Management Survey.

The survey of nearly 600 employers finds that 31% of employers have seen an increase in so called ‘presenteeism’ in the last 12 months.  It also shows that presenteeism is more likely to have increased where there is a culture in which working long hours is seen to be the norm, and where operational demands take precedence over employee wellbeing.

Employers that have noticed an increase in presenteeism are nearly twice as likely as those that haven’t to report an increase in stress-related absence, and more than twice as likely to report an increase in mental health problems amongst its staff.  However, despite this, nearly three-fifths (56%) of organisations that have reported an increase in presenteeism haven’t taken any steps in order to discourage it.

The CIPD believes that more organisations should be developing employee wellbeing strategies in order to promote good health and combat presenteeism in the workplace.  There should be a clear focus on values and organisational culture, quality of leadership and management, as well as early access to good quality occupational health and rehabilitation support.  A key emphasis should be on training line managers to equip them with the skills they need to manage people in a way that gets the best out of them, whilst supporting their wellbeing.

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