Latest findings from the CIPD/Simplyhealth Health and Well-being at Work surveyhas revealed that 86% of 1,000+ respondents said they had observed presenteeism in their organisation over the last 12 months, compared with 72% in 2016 and just 26% in 2010.
The survey also found that ‘leaveism’, such as people using annual leave to work, is a growing problem. More than two-thirds of respondents (69%) reported that leaveism has occurred in their organisation over the last year.
However, despite this only a minority of organisations are taking steps to challenge these unhealthy workplace practices.
Increased presenteeism is associated with increases in reported common mental health conditions as well as stress-related absence, which are among the top causes of long-term sickness absence, according to the survey. This isn’t good news for businesses, as this could very well have a negative impact on the growth and development of the company.
Only one in ten of those who are taking action said presenteeism and leaveism are viewed as a priority by the board, and less than six in ten (58%) say their organisation is currently meeting the basic legal requirements for reducing stress in the workplace.
Rachel Suff, Senior Employment Relations Adviser at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, commented, “The survey shines a light on the shocking scale of presenteeism and leaveism we have in the UK, as people feel under even more pressure at work. Increasingly the threats to well-being in the modern workplace are psychological rather than physical, and yet too few organisations are discouraging unhealthy workplace practices and tackling stress, which is strongly linked to health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
“In order to encourage a healthy workplace, organisations need to look beyond sickness absence rates alone and develop a solid, evidence-based understanding of the underlying causes of work-related stress and unhealthy behaviour like presenteeism. Without this evidence base, efforts to support employees and improve their health and well-being will be short-lived.”
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