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A new study by Canada Life Group Insurance has revealed that a staggering 93% of workers attend work despite feeling unwell.

A fifth of the 888 employees surveyed said they were reluctant to take time off because they feared losing their job and being ‘blacklisted’ for taking time off whilst a similar number of respondents (23%) said their workload was too high to allow them to take time off.

Worryingly, some respondents said that they would only consider taking time off work if they were hospitalised and had no other choice but to take sick leave.

Impact of Presenteeism

Presenteeism, the act of attending work while sick, is easily overlooked by employers because it is easy to assume that if employees are present then they must be well enough to work.

However, presenteeism can have a detrimental impact on an organisation, due to loss of productivity and the possibility of passing on the illness to other colleagues.

The culture of presenteeism costs the UK economy over £15billion every year.

Addressing Presenteeism

To address presenteeism, employers need a clear absence management system in place, supported by an integrated Time and Attendance solution.

By investing in a Time and Attendance system, such as Vanquish, employers can manage the entire absence process with consistency and minimise its impact on overall productivity by ensuring the right amount of employees are scheduled to work, and tasks are reallocated to other colleagues.

Configuration of an alerts system allows managers to identify missed clockings, lateness and unauthorised absences so they can cover the absence immediately.

Absence Management features also enable managers to plan future workflow with greater accuracy with pre-booked holidays, doctors’ appointments, sick leave and maternity / paternity leave etc.

Self-service functions enable employees to request personal leave without having to speak to their manager directly, side-stepping any embarrassment that may be associated with a particular illness or personal issue.

Investing in a time and attendance system can help employers address presenteeism promote to workers that they value health and wellbeing and emphasise that workers who are genuinely ill will not be penalised for taking time off.


Auto Time Solutions featured in Cleaning & Maintenance (Oct 2014)
Caring responsibilities increase staff absence levels