Monday, 22 october 2018 | Redacción CEU
There are employees who wait for their bosses to leave the office to conclude their workday. There are others workers who constantly look at their phones to check whether they have pending messages in their WhatsApp groups or not. There are also those who, in the absence of tasks to do, cover up for fear of their job being no longer necessary and they will be in danger of being fired. All of them are real and easy-to-find examples in the staff that make up the current business environment in Spain. Presenteeism is a phenomenon rooted in this country but it is not less innocuous for that reason. What are the consequences of having a work system based on presenteeism? How to fight the great evils of "being at work and not working"?
Last week, Adecco published a survey based on 560 interviews with executives and human resources managers which concluded that 43.7% of Spanish companies have detected an abuse of presenteeism by their workers. Being an evil that has afflicted the health of Spanish companies for many years, it is surprising that rather than showing signs of falling, figures do not stop rising instead: more and more organizations confess perceiving symptoms of this phenomenon in their staff.
Why is presenteeism so present?
Before addressing the different reasons which are hidden behind this in-person system of work, it is necessary to deepen into what we understand by "presenteeism". This concept alludes to the physical presence of employees but also their inactivity in the place of work, that is, workers devote part of their working day to perform other functions that have nothing to do with the position for which they have been hired or, simply, they do nothing.
Therefore, presenteeism is the antithesis of absenteeism, since workers never stop showing up at their workplace. However, its effects are as harmful as those of not going to work: decrease in productivity and efficiency, low morale of the staff, burnout syndrome, possible contagion of diseases, low level of quality, increase in the number of accidents at work, proliferation of conflicts between workmates, drain of talent, less ability to attract new professionals, work stress, poor results, etc. These reasons are more than enough to make leaders and HR professionals think about how to mitigate these effects and combat their causes.