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What is presenteeism and how is it affecting your business?

We're all familiar with the problem of absenteeism, particularly in the run-up to Christmas as colds and parties take their toll. But as the economic downturn makes staff increasingly reluctant to take time off for illness, presenteeism - turning up for work when unwell - may also be affecting productivity.

A recent Work Foundation report has found that presenteeism, or sickness presence, could account for as much if not more of a loss in productivity than sickness absence. The report found that personal money troubles, work-related stress and perceived pressure from managers were all contributing factors. The ongoing economic downturn has seen the problem worsen, with staff worrying more about possible downsizing and job losses.

As well as affecting the productivity of those staff who report for work when unwell, sickness presence can adversely affect general staff morale and contribute to longer recovery periods from illness. The report recommends re-evaluation of sickness absence policies to ensure that they are being understood and implemented correctly, and emphasises the role of line managers in tackling workplace stress.

Acas works with employers to develop practical solutions for dealing with stress and managing its effects on productivity, morale and absence levels. In addition to guidance on identifying, addressing and minimising stress in the workplace, Acas offer individually tailored training courses to help employers manage stress in the workplace, as well practical training in absence management and creating an attendance culture.

Visit the Acas training and business solutions page for more information.

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