top of page


Updated: Dec 20, 2021

Download PDF • 395KB

Presenteeism is a global phenomenon and is increasing becoming recognised in organisations around the world. If it was not for the Covid-19 pandemic however, people probably would not have taken much notice of it at all.

When we wake up with a headache and congestion it crosses our minds briefly

that we are sick, and we should probably stay home, then we think about our

workloads. We remember that the invoicing needs doing, there is a meeting at 11,

and that project needs finishing off before Thursday. So we dismiss the idea and

get ready to go to work and feel terrible for the whole day.

At work we get judgmental looks and get comments from others about how “you

better not make them sick”. Since we feel terrible our production levels are low,

and we make mistakes.

When an employee wakes up feeling unwell (either mentally or physically) they

have two options; go to work anyway, or take the day off. Presenteeism is when

they choose to go to work whilst unwell, and they do not perform at their full


Recent estimates predict that it is up to four times more costly for a business

for someone to be working whilst unwell, than it would if they were absent from

work, as employers pay a full time wage for lowered productivity and often the

illness spreads around the workplace to others.

What causes presenteeism?

Presenteeism is still a relatively new concept and we are still learning

about how to control, reduce and measure it. However, it is known that

often presenteeism is often encouraged by management, this could be

both intentional or unintentional.