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Does Being Present At Work Equate To Being Productive?

The psychology behind being present at work and its effect on productivity


What's going on?

Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) released a new report stating that employees could cost companies three months worth of lost productivity in a year. Presenteeism is a phenomenon where employees show up at work but aren’t fully productive. The study by GCC involved 2,000 employees and was further validated by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Workplace Health and Productivity Questionnaire (HPQ).


The study found that employees admitted to being unproductive on the job for 57.5 days each, equivalent to almost three working months. Data scientist Dr Olivia Sackett said it is tougher to quantify presenteeism than absenteeism, but with the help of the WHO-HPQ, it was made possible. It was concluded that the cost of presenteeism to companies was ten times higher than of absenteeism, costing them about $1.5 trillion annually. The chief medical officer at GCC, Dr David Batman, insists that more attention needs to be given to employee wellness to combat presenteeism. Paying more attention to the well-being of employees is not only valuable for business but also employees too. Batman also mentioned that when employees’ job engagement decreases, employers will need to come up with solutions to this. These issues affect not only the employees with low engagement but also their co-workers who are impacted by their presenteeism.


However, presenteeism responds to quick fixes and companies that implement a holistic approach to health can rapidly transform a workforce plagued with presenteeism. Workplace safety and health are no longer just about employees going home in one piece. It’s also about caring for them physically and mentally by keeping them engaged and healthy in their job.


Presenteeism Costs Business 10 Times More than Absenteeism