Friday, September 18, 2020

Corporates urged to prevent presenteeism amid a Coronavirus outbreak

In the last decade, presenteeism – the act of working more hours than required – has tripled in the UK with more than 4 in 5 people observing it compared to just a quarter in 2010. As coronavirus (Covid-19) continues to spread, both within the UK and globally, employers should be discouraging, and tackling, ‘presenteeism’ amid government warnings around social distancing and self-isolation. With business practices, and management, being put to the test, the experts at Instant Offices delves into the reality of presenteeism and what businesses can do to help keep employees safe during a pandemic.

A continuing global issue

Numerous countries have now gone into ‘lockdown’ discouraging travel in or out the country. In the UK, it has recently been advised that everyone should avoid “non-essential” travel, with key government measures including:

· Avoiding gatherings and corded places

· Working from home if possible, to enable “social distancing”

· Distancing away from the vulnerable as much as possible to ensure as little chance of infection

Previously, 1 in 5 people ignored their doctor’s advice to stay home when unwell, and studies indicate that doing so can not only reduce productivity by over 30%, but cost a company £4,000 in lost business, on average per employee.

Nonetheless, UK employees displaying little-to-no cold/flu-like symptoms continue to go into work, despite warnings from the government about doing so. For those who are able to work from home, many businesses still aren’t enforcing employees to do so.

Businesses are unprepared for a pandemic

WHO officials warned that the world is dangerously unprepared for a pandemic, and this is reflected within businesses where less than 1 in 10 businesses had policies in place to cover ‘what to do in a pandemic’. To make matters worse, research shows a third of UK workers would lie about exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19. Precautionary measures such as thorough regular deep cleaning and increased use of tools that help manage remote working are just two ways businesses are attempting to deal with the sudden outbreak.

A Global Issue

Previously defined as “showing up to work when one is ill” the concept of ‘presenteeism’ has evolved to include a wide range of detrimental behaviours relating to how we work.

This includes employees who arrive early and stay late to show commitment, those who work during annual leave and those who respond to emails at all hours, mistaking an unhealthy attitude towards work as a strong work ethic, often to the detriment of their personal wellbeing. Although those working from home are generally more productive than in an office, remote workers are, on average, working an extra 1.5 days a week, as they feel it is easier to finish a task as they don’t need to think about commuting.

What Drives Presenteeism?

Although figures from the ONS indicate, in the past 25 years, sickness absence has steadily decreased, the pressure to turn up at work at all costs has significantly increased presenteeism, which results in a toxic workplace culture in which no one wins.

Combating presenteeism during a pandemic

As with anything new and unknown, there is a level of uncertainty that comes with a pandemic. Keep an eye on the news, and reiterate decisions that could affect their job/ability to work as quickly as possible to reassure people.

Ensure employees know that they are able to work from home

Although it may not be possible for all roles and industries, companies where staff are able to carry out tasks out the office, should let employees know this is something they can do as soon as possible.

Encourage Senior Members to Lead by Example

By managing their own absence and presence and encouraging a healthy work-life balance, line managers and senior members of staff can act as better role models for the organisation, inspiring their teams to do the same. Ensure employees are ‘online’ during working hours and encourage them to log off at the end of the day as normal.

Enable Flexibility

Employees who adjust their working hours and environment are less likely to fall into the cycle of presenteeism. By offering options such as flexible working options or hours, employees can feel more in control and still maintain their work.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our news site - please take a moment to read this important message:

As you know, our aim is to bring you, the reader, an editorially led news site and magazine but journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.

With the Covid-19 lockdown having a major impact on our industry as a whole, the advertising revenues we normally receive, which helps us cover the cost of our journalists and this website, have been drastically affected.

As such we need your help. If you can support our news sites/magazines with either a small donation of even £1, or a subscription to our magazine, which costs just £31.50 per year, (inc p&P and mailed direct to your door) your generosity will help us weather the storm and continue in our quest to deliver quality journalism.

As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to our web site and magazine. You'll also be offered VIP invitations to our events, preferential rates to all our awards and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Just click here to subscribe and in the meantime may I wish you the very best.




Latest news

£1.1m engineering skills boost for Sheffield

In a national first, teenagers at UTC Sheffield will develop a new range of in demand high-level digital engineering skills following a £1.1 million...

Cable cleat manufacturer expands North Yorkshire headquarters

Cable cleat manufacturer, Ellis Patents, has invested £500,000 in a 25 per cent expansion of its North Yorkshire headquarters. The main element of the expansion...

Time Out: Spencer Coffin, director of Procure Direct

The weekend is just around the corner and that means another ‘Time Out’. This week Business Link talks to Spencer Coffin, director of Procure...

Yorkshire hydroelectric projects acquired

Two hydropower projects in Yorkshire have changed hands as part of a £4.74 million acquisition. The deal sees JLEN, a listed environmental infrastructure fund, swoop...

Leeds med-tech firm raises £2.2m via share placing

Surgical Innovations has successfully raised £2.2 million to reinflate working capital, invest in new product development and sustainability support initiatives. The AIM listed Leeds-based med-tech...

ITM Power part of major hydrogen partnership

Sheffield hydrogen specialist, ITM Power, is one third of a new partnership which aims to use the clean renewable fuel to help Scotland achieve...

Related news

£1.1m engineering skills boost for Sheffield

In a national first, teenagers at UTC Sheffield will develop a new range of in demand high-level digital engineering skills following a £1.1 million...

Cable cleat manufacturer expands North Yorkshire headquarters

Cable cleat manufacturer, Ellis Patents, has invested £500,000 in a 25 per cent expansion of its North Yorkshire headquarters. The main element of the expansion...

Time Out: Spencer Coffin, director of Procure Direct

The weekend is just around the corner and that means another ‘Time Out’. This week Business Link talks to Spencer Coffin, director of Procure...

Yorkshire hydroelectric projects acquired

Two hydropower projects in Yorkshire have changed hands as part of a £4.74 million acquisition. The deal sees JLEN, a listed environmental infrastructure fund, swoop...

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close