Work Presenteeism

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What is Work Presenteeism? Meaning.

Work Presenteeism is the culture in which employees are working (very) long hours, even in the weekends, without overtime pay. Or they are feeling that they must show up for work even if one is too sick, stressed or distracted to be productive; the feeling that one needs to work extra hours even if one has no extra work to do. They (feel they) are expected to work longer hours and take fewer holidays than the boss demands, to show an adequate commitment to the organization.

Medically, it can be described as the problem of workers being on the job but, because of medical conditions, are not fully functioning. The health problems that result in presenteeism include such chronic or episodic ailments as seasonal include: depression, back pain, arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure, and gastrointestinal disorders. An example of presenteeism might be an employee who suffers from depression and as a result is less able to work effectively. Another example might be the employee with a migraine headache who may have difficulty looking at a computer screen.

It is a relatively new term used to describe workers who remain on the job but who are not as productive as usual due to stress, depression, injury, illness, or something as simple as a migraine headache. The results of presenteeism include a decrease in the quality and quantity of work, an increase in mistakes, and a work overload on other employees.

Presenteeism might seem to boost productivity by making it appear superficially that employees are working harder. In reality, the health effects of stress on productivity – and the impact on an organization’s work culture – can be counter-productive, especially in the long run. Being present for many hours does not necessarily mean the employee is also very productive.

For these reasons some employers encourage their employees to work smarter rather than work longer. Other organizations may ask employees who normally come in to work while they're sick, to stay home and take some rest.

Presenteeism is the opposite of Absenteeism. The term "presenteeism" was coined by Professor Cary Cooper, a psychologist specializing in organizational management at Manchester University in the UK. According to Cooper, presenteeism follows from insecurity and fear of job loss.

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