Presenteeism, the compulsion to attend office even when sick

Presenteeism, the compulsion to attend office even when sickWashington, Nov 18 : Many employees feel the pressure to work even when they are sick, a practice known as presenteeism, as they fear losing their job, but this is not always a productive option, a new study has found.

Depending on individuals and their roles within an organization, sick employees can be present in body and not in spirit, while others can be ill and fully functional.

"Secure employees don't fear retribution for an occasional absence because of sickness," Gary Johns, the study author, said.

"Often, a person might feel socially obligated to attend work despite illness, while other employees feel organizational pressure to attend work despite medical discomfort," he said.

As part of their investigation, Johns and his team from Concordia University surveyed 444 people on their job requirements, work experience, absenteeism and presenteeism.

Over the previous six months, participants reported an average of three presenteeism days and an average of 1.8 absenteeism days, most of which were attributed to illness.

"Respondents who viewed absenteeism as more legitimate reported more absences, more sick days and fewer presenteeism days," he said.

The researchers found that presenteeism was elevated among workers engaged in interdependent projects or teamwork, and those who were insecure about their jobs also engaged in more presenteeism.

"Presentees felt a compulsion to attend despite illness," Johns said.

According to the study, presenteeism is more frequent when people face job insecurity and impermanent job status, absenteeism, however, is more elevated in unionized work settings or when unemployment is low.

The study has been published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. (ANI)