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May 11, 2021

Nervous workers show signs of presenteeism

Determined to get that project done on time, even though you feel like crap? Worried about staying home lest your boss think that you're not totally committed to your job? Or maybe you don't have any paid sick days to begin with?

If that sounds familiar, you're probably guilty of "presenteeism" — the insidious act of showing up at work even though you should be at home getting over whatever it is that ails you.

Presenteeism isn’t as obvious to spot as absenteeism, because it’s harder to tell how much an illness affects a person's performance than to know how often someone simply doesn’t  show up for work.

One American study suggested that presenteeism costs the U.S economy up to $150 billion a year, thanks to workers who perform well below their usual levels all the while passing on their ailments to their co-workers.

Here are a few suggestions for your employer to consider, courtesy of BenefitsWorld.

1. Consider offering reasonable paid sick days. Money is tight – for many, “toughing” out the day at work when sick is preferable to losing the day’s wage.

2.  Educate employees. Many employees are worried about the stigma of calling in sick, and feel they’re demonstrating a commitment to work if they come in when under the weather. Encourage employees to stay home when sick.

3. Consider sending sick employees home. If an employee comes to work and is clearly ill, consider educating them about the policy, and sending them home.

4. Institute a telecommuting policy. A telecommuting policy balances the need to address urgent matters or attend important meetings remotely, with the need to protect the health of others in the office.

Do you have an employee or a colleague who continually shows up to work coughing and spreading their germs? Does anybody do anything? Or are you the culprit?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money

* Follow Gordon on Twitter here.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...