Organizations Health

Presenteeism work: sick at work.

One of the greater problems with which has to lidiar a company is the presenteeism labour, which can define like the fact to happen a lot of hours (or the agreed by agreement) but without involving a good performance or motivation by part of the employee. That is to say, the presenteeism labour produces  when the worker is literally losing the time during his hours of work. If you want to know more on as motivate to your employees so that it do not produce  this effect can consult this article on motivation of the employees: How motivate to the employees 7 basic motivations of all hard-working.

Presenteeism Labour: work being ill. 

This part of the definition has a more pejorative character to the employee, however the presenteeism labour produces  by what the employee create like a more ethical cause “”, as it is the fact to go to work in spite of being patient. Therefore, the presenteeism labour does also reference to the people that work in spite of not to find in the best conditions of health,  which causes a low exert in his activities (Aronsson and Gustafsson, 2005).

The presenteeism labour is a neologism created as the opposite to the labour absenteeism, with what could speak also of face-to-face absenteeism (ausentism and absenteeism are synonymous words) by what refers  to the behaviour where the employee finds  physically in the place of work, in spite of suffering problems of health that hamper him concentrate and carry out his tasks of correct form. According to some studies, in the United States, 83% of the employees recognises to have gone to work being patient at least in an occasion during the previous year.

Causes of the presenteeism labour.

The fear to lose the work is used to to be the most frequent cause for this type of behaviours but can produce  because of other reasons:

  1. Labour insecurity. The unsteadiness of the labour market “forces” to the employee to go to work in spite of did not find physically well, by fear to lose the employment.
  2. Responsibility. The employee assumes the effort to attend to work being ill not to prejudice to his mates or team of work. The worker feels that it has to fulfil with his obligations.
  3. Addiction to the work. The people with this pathology does not understand of illnesses to the hour to go to work. You can learn more on the workaholism, or addiction to the work in east another article: Workaholism: addiction to the work.
  4. Management of the human resources. The organisation can have problems for remplazar to the ill employee, that hampers that the employee can remain home during the necessary days to recover . In determinate works is complex to find a “substitute” and does to feel to the employee the need to assist equally. However, the world will not stop  for postponing the activities or cancel them until the worker recover .

>> Article related: Karoshi: when the work kills you.

Consequences of the presenteeism labour.

Between the consequences that generates the presentismo find  for example:

  • Work slower. It reduces  the productivity, all have limits.
  • Lower quality of the work. Really you want to take out a bad work to expect some days and make it better?
  • Greater number of errors. Our capacity of attention reduces , remembers that the body has priorities and will concentrate  before in sanarte that in finishing the work of correct form.
  • Risk of contagion to other workers in case that the illness can be transmisible (flu, for example).
  • Worse labour health of the employee. A person under the effects of the presentismo, already was by causes of health, low motivation or fault of work will finish mermando his health,  fatigará more and can that it finish for boring his own work.

Go to work being patient is not to do him a favour to the company.

A lot of people fall in the false belief that if they do not go to work will be causing him a problem to the company. Experts in the field, as De Líbano (2011) affirm that work being ill is costlier and hurtful for the productivity and the performance of the company that remain home resting.

>> Article related: How motivate to your employees 7 basic motivations.


Bibliographic references:

Aronsson, G., Gustafsson, K. (2005). Sickness presenteeism: prevalence, attendance-pressure factors, and an outline of to model for research. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine47(9), 958-966.

Dessler G. (2009). Administration of Human Resources. Pearson Education: Mexico.

Of the Lebanon. (2011). To Journey into the Heart of Workaholism: empirical findings from several multi-sample studies. Thesis doctoral, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón.


Iván Pico

Director y creador de Psicólogo Colegiado G-5480 entre otras cosas. Diplomado en Ciencias Empresariales y Máster en Orientación Profesional. Máster en Psicología del Trabajo y Organizaciones. Posgrado en Psicología del Deporte entre otras cosas. Visita la sección "Sobre mí" para saber más. ¿Quieres una consulta personalizada? ¡Escríbeme!

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