Presenteesim means an employee comes to work but is not fully functioning, due to illness.
How many times have your employees come to work while sick? For that matter, how many times have YOU come to work while sick? For those of us from the "Baby Boomer" and older generation, it was practically a badge of honor to come to work sick! It proved our dedication to the job and the company, and how we could push ourselves through almost any kind of discomfort in order to get ahead.
Presenteeism is still happening today, but it is no longer considered a display of weakness to stay home in the eyes of many employers. That's because they finally realize it's better to have one person go home sick than to have illness run rampant through the company. And even worse, to spread that illness through their clients' buildings or homes.
A little known fact regarding presenteeism is that productivity can be reduced by 30% or more, which is often more costly than absenteeism. Here are some additional negative effects of presenteeism:
- Employees take longer to do their tasks than they would if they were healthy (thus the loss of productivity).
- Quality of work is decreased. When people are ill, they are less focused on the task at hand, so the quality of work suffers as a result.
- Sick employees lack initiative. They basically want to get through the day so they can go home and rest.
- Lowered ability to perform at their peak. When people are healthy they are able to perform their best work. This is almost impossible to do when sick.
- Decreased quantity of work completed. Most cleaning technicians do the basics when sick, and let some of the more detailed cleaning slide. This can throw the whole cleaning schedule out of whack.
- Lack of motivation. Most of us are simply not as motivated when we're sick.
- Inability to be social with coworkers. Workers that come to work when ill are not terribly social, which can drag the team down.
Do you have a problem with presenteeism in your cleaning company? If so, there are usually specific reasons for this:
- Your company culture. As the cleaning business owner, it's time to look at yourself to see if this problem stems from the culture you've created. Many cleaning business owners are often times short-handed, which puts added stress on the rest of the employees and the owner. When you show that you're upset when an employee calls in sick, it creates a culture of fear of calling in sick.
- Job protection. Some employees may feel their job could be in jeopardy if they call in sick, especially if there is a perceived company culture of having to work while sick.
- Lack of sick days or PTO. If you don't offer any sick days or paid time off, many employees will come to work sick, purely for economic reasons -- they simply can't afford to be off a day of work, even it it's because they're sick.
- Overwhelmed and overworked. Some employees will forgo taking off due to illness for fear of coming back to work to an even heavier workload. If they know you don't have an adequate replacement to handle things while they're gone, they know they'll be even more overwhelmed than they already are when they come back to work. This is especially true in the case of supervisors who have a lot on their plate.
Whatever the reason for presenteeism in your company, if it's a problem, it needs to be addressed. Here are a few tips for reducing presenteeism in your company:
- Review your company culture and company policies to make sure there is nothing that might make employees feel obligated to come to work when sick.
- Offer paid sick days or PTO so employees don't have to feel as if they can't take off when sick for economic reasons.
- Cross-train employees so others can fill in for the sick employees so they don't feel as if things will fall apart if they can't make it to work.
Do you have a problem in your cleaning company with presenteeism? Please share your thoughts on this topic by clicking on the Comments link below.