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February 12, 2020updated 21 Jan 2021 12:28pm

‘Presenteeism’ in the workplace

By Zoya Malik

It has been reported that seven in 10 UK employers witness 'presenteeism' in the workplace. Kelly Feehan, Service Director, CABA the wellbeing charity for accountants, comments on why presenteeism is so high in today's employees

 “We believe that one of the reasons for the rise in presenteeism can be found in today’s society, where people have the tendency to believe that to achieve personal success and happiness they need to be busy at all times – often at the expense of their health and relationships. Sometimes referred to as hustle porn, this toxic mentality has a profound impact on our physical and mental health, to the detriment of both the employee and the employer. So much so, in fact, that in May 2019 the World Health Organisation (WHO) added occupational burnout to its International Classification of Diseases.

“In industries where long working hours and tight deadlines are widely accepted as the norm, this is particularly problematic. To combat rising levels of stress and burnout organisations need to cultivate an open and more supportive work environment, in which people feel safe and empowered to speak up and communicate their needs. Employers also need to set clear boundaries when it comes to workloads, including overtime and out-of-office email checking, as an always-on work mentality can lead to a significant drop in staff productivity and motivation, often due to fatigue.

“Where there’s any uncertainty about how to develop a healthy approach to mental health in the workplace, we’d encourage firms to seek guidance from wellbeing experts outside of the organisation.”

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