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Amy White

Partner - Uckfield

24th March 2017

Work less hours, get more done

Amy White, Solicitor in Rix & Kay’s Employment Team, discusses the merits of encouraging people to go home at 5pm in an article featured in ACES Magazine.

Presenteeism! Not a particularly common expression, but our tip to be one of the biggest buzz words for 2017. Big businesses are starting to wake up to the idea that working all the hours God sends is actually no good for anyone – individuals and organisations alike – and working less could turn out to be far more productive.

So what is all the fuss about?

Presenteeism is defined as ‘the practice of being present at one’s place of work for more hours than is required’. In practice, this means people coming to work while suffering with poor health when really they should be tucked up in bed with a Lemsip, as well as compulsively checking and sending emails in the middle of the night and sitting in the office for hours on end while achieving next to nothing (other than viewing some particularly good photos of cats on Instagram of course).

While it might seem that employers should be more concerned with staff taking excessive sick leave, sloping off early or turning up late, the opposite is actually becoming a significant issue with serious consequences for employers. Not only are poorly and overworked employees likely to be ineffective during the time they spend at work, their impaired performance and level of concentration could lead to errors that cost time and money to fix.

In the past, attending work while you were under the weather or working late into the night was seen as something to be praised – it showed dedication and real strength of character. The reality however, is that it may well be costing businesses a great deal more than it saves them.

The results of a 2015 survey conducted by Simplyhealth and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), found that in the preceding 12 months, a third of firms reported a rise in employees working when they were sick and those firms were nearly twice as likely to report an increase in stress-related absences. Furthermore, a report from the Work Foundation found that the cost of presenteeism in the workplace could account for one-and-a-half times the cost of sick leave.

Download the full article, Presenteeism in the workplace.

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