‘Presenteeism’, or people coming into work when they are ill, has more than tripled since 2010, according to the latest CIPD/Simplyhealth Health and Well-being at Work survey.
86% of over 1,000 respondents to the 2018 survey 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 also a growing problem. More than two-thirds of respondents (69%) reported that leaveism has occurred in their organisation over the last year.
Despite the disturbing figures, only a minority of organisations are taking steps to challenge these unhealthy workplace practices. Just a quarter of respondents that have experienced presenteeism (25%) say their organisation has taken steps to discourage it over the last year, a figure that has almost halved since 2016 (48%). Similarly, only 27% of those who have experienced leaveism say their organisation is taking action to tackle it.
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. However, 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, comments:
Further highlights of the survey include:
- The average level of employee absence is 6.6 days per employee per year, an increase from 6.3 in 2016
- Significantly more respondents (55%) have reported an increase in common mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, among employees in the last 12 months, compared with 2016 (41%)
- Around three-fifths say their organisation has a supportive framework in place to recruit (59%) and retain (60%) people with a disability or long-term health condition. Respondents have called for government to provide an online ‘one-stop shop’ providing information and practical tools and more financial support for making adjustments
- Advances in technology are generally seen to have more of a positive than negative impact on employee well-being. However, almost nine in ten respondents call out employees’ inability to switch off out of work hours as the most common negative effect of technology on well-being
CIPD Training is running a course on creating a Workplace Well-being Strategy in July, September and December 2018. Highly practical and interactive in approach, the course will give HR professionals the tools required to develop a well-being strategy in their organisation. Find out more here - http://shop.cipd.co.uk/shop/cipd-training/workplace-well-being-strategy
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