HR Glossary / Presenteeism

Presenteeism refers to employees who are physically present at work but not physically or mentally inclined to perform the tasks required of them.


What are the causes of presenteeism at work?

There are several causes for occupational presenteeism, including:

What are the consequences of presenteeism?

Presenteeism can have consequences for both employees and employers. The most common are:

  • Drop in productivity
  • Negative influence on co-workers
  • Decrease or loss of profits
  • More fatigue among employees
  • Heightened feelings of dissatisfaction
  • Failure to meet deadlines
  • Lower quality of work
  • Deteriorated social climate

How to fight presenteeism at work

Managers who wish to fight presenteeism at work can implement several strategies or actions, such as: 

What are the types of presenteeism?

There are three types of presenteeism at work:

  • Contemplative presenteeism: When employees are present at work but do few or none of the tasks assigned to them.
  • Strategic presenteeism: When employees arrive very early and leave very late without having done as much work as they could have, thereby implying to their supervisor that they are dedicated to their tasks.
  • Sickness presenteeism: When employees show up to work sick and are unable to give the job their all.

What’s the difference between presenteeism and absenteeism?

The difference between presenteeism and absenteeism at work lies in whether or not the employee is physically present at their workplace. In both cases, the work is incomplete or not done at all.

Presenteeism is therefore not really the opposite of absenteeism, but another type of disengagement at work.

Is there a link between presenteeism and burnout?

Presenteeism is a precursor to burnout. An employee who has too much work to do but not enough flexibility to do it may eventually begin to exhibit presenteeism.


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