Absenteeism has typically been a thorn in the side of many companies. But there’s a flip side to employees failing to show up to work. This is what we call, “presenteeism,” when employees come in to work unwell or put in excessive overtime. Here we are addressing this issues and how to help reduce stress in employees.
Now you probably appreciate and respect workers who are team players and go the extra mile. But employees who come to work when they aren’t operating at full physical or mental capacity can causes issues. This includes making mistakes, causing accidents, creating confusion and ultimately hurting productivity. In other words, presenteeism can slowly and silently erode your bottom line. This is why you need to address this and know how to help reduce stress in employees.
A common response to presenteeism is, “But we offer paid sick days”. Yes, paid sick days do generally help resolve incidences of a physical ailment or injury. However, they may not adequately address struggles with mental illness or extreme personal stress. Examples of extreme personal stress includes divorce or financial crisis. Some managers may raise an eyebrow at those taking a “mental health day”. In doing so, the sufferers end up coming in to work when they really may need the day off.
How can you help? If you sponsor a health care plan, it likely offers coverage for mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment. Be sure employees are aware of this. Also, reinforce with employees that you’ll honor the sick-day provisions spelled out in your employee manual for all types of ailments (physical, mental and psychological). Don’t forget about employee training tips. Train supervisors to support employees’ well-being and encourage those who need to take time off to do so if they need it.
Another common cause of presenteeism is the perceived notion among many workers that they must work excessive overtime to prove themselves. Many companies still operate under an “old school” culture that says putting in extra overtime will make the boss happy and lead to quicker raises and promotions.
Generally, many managers assume that, if an employee is absent, his or her productivity must be suffering. Conversely, if that same employee is putting in extra time and skipping vacations, he or she must be highly productive. But these assumptions aren’t always true — they must be supported by a thorough, objective and analytical performance evaluation process.
You can prevent this type of presenteeism by strongly encouraging, if not strictly enforcing, vacation time. Communicate to employees your concerns about overworking and remind them to take advantage of the time off that they’ve earned. (Doing so can also deter fraud.)
Having a workforce full of dedicated, hard-working employees is still a goal that every business should strive for. But, at the same time, knowing how to help reduce stress in employees with work-life balance is a concept that benefits both you and your team. Our firm can help you analyze the numbers related to productivity that can help in improving employee performance. We will help you make optimal decisions regarding staffing and workflow.