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Home Working Highlights Culture of Presenteeism, says CIPD

Home Working Highlights Culture of Presenteeism, says CIPD
29 April 2021 | Updated 24 August 2021
 

77 per cent of employers have observed presenteeism in employees who are working from home in the last year, according to research by The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Presenteeism, is the act of continuing to work when unwell, and it's highlighted an "always on" work culture, says the CIPD.

The rate of presenteeism whilst working at home is slightly higher than levels in employees attending the workplace (75 per cent)

The survey of 668 people professionals, representing 2.7 million employees, also found leaveism – working outside of contracted hours or using annual leave to work or when ill – is an issue, with seven in ten (70 per cent) employers observing this unhealthy behaviour over the same period.

While more organisations are taking steps to address these issues compared with last year, over two-fifths experiencing presenteeism (43 per cent) and leaveism (47 per cent) aren’t taking any action.

 

 

"It’s important that employers don’t lose sight of the gains they have made in supporting people’s health and wellbeing as we move through the next stages of the pandemic and beyond."

–Rachel Suff

Senior Policy Adviser, Employment Relations, CIPD

 

What Causes Presenteeism and Leaveism?

 

Unmanageable workloads is by far the top cause of work-related stress (59 per cent of respondents), which could contribute to presenteeism. It’s crucial for organisations to address any issues that could be creating a culture where staff feel they are expected to work when ill or feel it’s the only way they can stay on top of their workload. Employers need to ensure that line managers are aware of the risks of presenteeism.

Managers should assess individual and team workloads to make sure they are reasonable, set clear expectations about taking breaks, and act as good role models for healthy working practices, such as taking time off when sick.

Rachel Suff, Senior Policy Adviser, Employment Relations at the CIPD, commented:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put a huge strain on employers and individuals. Employers should take a strategic and preventative approach to wellbeing in order to tackle work-related stress and unhealthy behaviour like presenteeism and leaveism and this must be role modelled by those in senior positions. They should also recognise the important role that line managers play in supporting individuals with their health and wellbeing. Managers should be equipped with the appropriate training, support and guidance needed to do this effectively.

“Our research shows many organisations have taken steps to improve their health and wellbeing support over the last year, particularly regarding mental health support. It’s important that employers don’t lose sight of the gains they have made in supporting people’s health and wellbeing as we move through the next stages of the pandemic and beyond. Increased support over the last year must not be viewed as a sticking plaster for the situation we are currently in. Instead, employers should view health and wellbeing as a business-critical issue and build on this support for the long-term.”

Picture: a photograph of a person sitting on an armchair with their head in their hands

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 29 April 2021

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