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Preventing Presenteesim: How To Help Employees Decrease Workplace Stress

Nearly 90 per cent of employees admitted to observing presenteeism (coming to work when physically or mentally unwell) in the workplace this past year—more than triple the rate since 2010, according to a recent survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. The findings mirror a recent report from the Office for National Statistics, which found that the number of working days lost due to absence has fallen to a record low of just 4.1 sick days in 2017. 

Presenteeism costs the economy £15.1 billion each year and erodes employee productivity, according to the Centre for Mental Health (CMH). The CMH also found that presenteeism actually costs businesses almost twice as much as absenteeism, which costs the economy about £8.4 billion each year. 

Presenteeism often stems from workplace stress. If left untreated, workplace stress can result in the progression of more serious mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, and ultimately cause higher absenteeism rates.

There are several ways you can help decrease the likelihood of workplace stress: 


  • Schedule informal check-ins with employees to monitor their stress levels and catch potential problems before they become serious.
  • Offer support and resources to all employees. If an employee says they are struggling, offer solutions, such as a support group or helpline.
  • Implement a stress policy that offers a detailed plan to manage work stress.

Contains public sector information published by the HSE and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.
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