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There’s a new word in the human resources lexicon: presenteeism.

That’s essentially absenteeism at work – while physically present — attributable to employees who come to work sick, worried, distracted or exhausted.

Here’s a sampling of how presenteeism manifests itself and steps employers and franchise staffing services can take to address it:

Walking wounded

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 41 million members of the labor force don’t have sick leave, so it’s pretty simple to draw this conclusion: They come to work sick.
This has obvious consequences, such as a lack of focus or getting others in the workplace sick. This leads to a cascade of repercussions: Performance is sloppy and the workload becomes too much for others to bear.

This can lead to costs that exceed the actual costs of providing paid time off. But paid time off with no accounting for sick time can backfire when employees hoard it to use for vacation or other reasons.
Consider offering sick leave for employees. Happy and healthy employees are loyal employees.

Financially fried

Employees with excessive debt or chronic money problems present their own form of presenteeism.
Financial stress is a constant, and can prompt employees to spend part of their work hours trying to get out of a money mess. The stress is also widespread: The national mean for household credit card debt is about $16,000, according to Bloomberg. Add to that student loan payments and general cost of living, and you have a recipe for a strapped and stressed-out employee.
The link between distractions at work and financial problems has prompted some companies to offer financial counseling for their employees, whether the companies contribute to retirement plans or not.
As interest rates gradually increase as the country continues its climb back from the Great Recession, debt is likely to get even more expensive.

The relentless clock

Excessive workloads and increased demands on employee time bring its own set of stresses. There is simply not enough time in the day to live a full life. Thus the zombies stagger through presenteeism because of exhaustion, especially those with children or excess external demands on their time.
Employers should keep an eye out for the following symptoms of burnout, according to Psychology Today: Messy work stations, declines in productivity, and consistent tardiness.

These are but a few signs of an exhausted employee and should prompt a good manager to audit an employee’s wellness and help them better manage their time. One prime time-sucker: Meetings.
Employee survey after employee survey indicates that many think most meetings are a waste of time that only put them farther behind the 8-ball. This has prompted some companies to carefully consider the necessity of frequent meetings. Some have even declared some days off-limits to meetings.
The above is just a sampling of the reasons – and possible solutions – for presenteeism. Remember, a good employer cares for her employees, and shouldn’t need a primer to determine whether an employee is productive and content, or just going through the motions and in need of help.

For 25 years, AtWork Group has built upon its core foundation of meeting and exceeding the needs and expectations of job seekers and clients seeking a full-service partner to assist with their staffing needs. We’re a leader in administrative staffing, light industrial staffing, nurse staffing, and executive recruitment, nationwide.