Presenteeism in the workplace

Presenteeism is an ongoing issue affecting most businesses where employees will come into work ill instead of phoning in sick. It can create direct and indirect costs to an organisation as the signs of presenteeism are not necessarily easy to identify. Presenteeism can affect your business by reducing productivity, it takes employees longer to recover from illnesses, sick employees can infect their colleagues, staff are more likely to make errors and it also decreases the overall efficacy of teams.

Did you know that?

  • 64% of UK employees have gone into work in the last 12 months despite being unwell. [1]
  • More than one in four employees ignore their doctor’s orders to stay at home and ‘soldier on’. [2]
  • 86% of respondents report observing ‘presenteeism’ in their organisation over the last 12 months. [3]
  • Some 89% of workers who turned up for work unwell admit they are less productive. [4]
  • For every £1 cost to business of absenteeism there is estimated to be an additional cost of £2.50 due to presenteeism. [5]

How to tackle it?

Presenteeism can be damaging to businesses and properly managing it will save companies money in the short and long term, along with increasing employee engagement and productivity.


Invest in wellness

Healthy employees are happy and productive employees. Placing an emphasis on the health and wellness of your workplace will demonstrate that your company is responsible and cares about its staff, which will result in engaged and loyal employees. Creating a wellness programme to cater to your employees needs can help improve their emotional, physical and social wellness. Re-examining an existing wellness programme can allow you to adapt it to any new issues employees are facing and investigate the best wellness solutions for healthier employees.

Offer management training

Companies need to provide a safe working environment for employees where they feel comfortable talking to their line managers and taking time off if they are poorly. Therefore, it is important for line managers to be able to deal with and identify signs of presenteeism for them to encourage employees to stay home and recover from sicknesses. Management Training Days include multiple topics for managers to become competent, confident and compliant when dealing with an employee’s health. The topics include mental health awareness, understanding the relationship between pressure and performance, managing and dealing with stress in the workplace, managing change, developing resilient teams and developing personal resilience for leaders.


Boost Morale

Frequent presenteeism can cause low morale, so employers should look for ways to try to boost it and show employees they are appreciated. Offering team building activities to your employees such as BMF Group Workouts, Team Events, Walkfit Classes or signing up to a Tough Mudder can encourage colleague bonding. If you would like to offer activities within your office then Office Yoga, Office Pilates, Office Massages, Office Tai Chi or Office Reflexology can help destress employees and provide them with time to focus on themselves.

If you are looking to implement a wellness strategy into your business, please visit Your Wellness Hub on or email us on [email protected].

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[1] Bupa Research –

[2] Bupa Research –

[3] CIPD Health and Well-being at Work Survey 2018 –

[4] Health at Work: Economic Report 2016

[5] Health at Work: Economic Report 2016