Presenteeism in the Workplace

Presenteeism in the Workplace

by Jeanne Knutzen | June 3, 2015

2 HIRING. EMPLOYEE SELECTION, Management.Supervision

By Strategic Human Resources, Inc.


I keep hearing people refer to “presenteeism” in the workplace. What is it and why does my boss want me to look into what it is costing the company? I’ve never heard that term before!


Presenteeism refers to employees who are on the job but, because of illness or other medical conditions, are not fully functioning.  These employees are physically present at work but are distracted to the point of not working at full capacity due to physical or emotional issues.  Chronic conditions such as allergies, arthritis, migraines, back pain, gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, and depression can lead to presenteeism issues, just to name a few.  Researchers indicate that presenteeism can cut individual productivity by one-third or more. In fact, data suggests that it is a much more costly problem to employers than absenteeism AND it is difficult to manage.  With presenteeism, employees show up to work but it is difficult to tell when or how much an illness or a medical condition is hindering someone’s performance.  They may “look fine” but their performance may be suffering. Presenteeism is thought to be more prevalent during tough economic times, because people are afraid to miss work, potentially causing them to lose their jobs.

Determining the cost of presenteeism to the company is a challenge since the costs are nearly invisible to employers.  It is hard to put a cost on the problem until the person has “checked out” to the point that it is obvious that their productivity is suffering.  There are two surveys available free from the World Health Organization that you can use to set a baseline in your organization.  The surveys (links below) can help you determine if there is a problem, possibly put some costs on the issue, and determine what, if any course of action needs to be taken.

World Health Organization  Health and Work Performance Questionnaire (HPQ)

Tufts Medical Center Work Limitations Questionnaire (WLQ)


Strategic Human Resources, Inc., is a national full-service HR management firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Our president and founder, Robin Throckmorton, can be reached

How useful was this blog post?

Click on a star to rate it!

We’d Love Your Comments on this Blog…

In today’s market, its never too early to get started on your next staffing challenge…..

Connect Now

2 thoughts on “Presenteeism in the Workplace”

6 years ago wht the hell

Sharonda Burnett

Hello I inteviwed with Temple got the job Aerotek being the agency I took the physical got all the shots at Temple took my Drug Test and background on 3/9/2017 my interview was on 3/2/2017 The recruiter called me on 3/15/2017 and told me that I passed everything and I had a job at 9:59 my start date was 3/20/2017 Then she called me back at 230pm on 3/15/2017 and said my background is going to take 3 weeks she April 1 , 2017 witch is a Sat she said somethings came up I told her the truth on the computer and in writting so I can they have a something come up but still claim they dont have my background then she tell me they are not we can’t in the position or offer they had to go with another candidate and to my background cleared but it’s very contradicting if she telling me they seen something on my report but waiting another 3 weeks I don’t understand cuz somebody help me?

6 years ago wht the hell

Lauren Molitor

The law protects you if something comes up in your background check that would have negative impact such as you not being able to start on your job. The law requires Aerotek to let you review the findings of their background check and to contest the accuracy of that check. I would request a review of the report in your case….require them to disclose what came up on your background check that required them to do a more exhaustive one. Good luck, but in terms of knowing what has kept them from putting you to work, the law is on your side.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Post Next Post