Presenteeism: A review of current thinking

Presenteeism – where workers attend work whilst ill – is an increasing problem as organisations continue to try to achieve more with less. This report from the IES looks at an overview of research and current thinking in the field.

Key findings:

  • As organisations attempt to drive down absenteeism they risk increasing presenteeism instead.
  • Presenteeism is more prevalent than absenteeism.
  • Unlike sickness absence it’s also significantly related to performance.
  • In the longer term presenteeism may be more damaging for employee's health, morale and productivity.
  • The promotion of a healthy workplace should drive down both absenteeism and presenteeism rather than one at the cost of the other.