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Presenteeism - present in body absent in productivity

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Presenteeism is alive and 'not well' in many businesses today. It will visit your business or may even be present as you read this article.

Presenteeism may be described as 'attending the workplace with minor or serious illnesses' when in fact your employee or you should be away recovering'!

It's a fact of life that when we don't feel good we don't operate at our best!

Many of us have observed workers and co-workers who have come in for the day and seemed present at the job only to observe a decrease in productivity or an overrun of deadlines. Some of us would have experienced this ourselves.

Employees or managers attending your workplace with minor sicknesses such as asthma, irritable bowel, migraines, arthritis, stress, fatigue may cause your business serious risk such as legal claims, productivity loss, declining employee morale and a occupational health and safety problem.

With more seious illnesses such as surgery recovery the effect on your business may lead to serious consequences.

In our business culture of lean and mean, fewer people more work, many employees come to work ill just to protect their jobs. After all there are bills to pay, medical expenses, school fees and the list goes on.

With many businesses reliant on team structures the presure by an ill employee to 'not let the team down' is a very real pressure. You can train your team to recognise these factors and save your business considerable grief.

Presenteeism is a concern in our workplaces today as pressure continues on individuals, families and enterprises to remain competitive. Fear is a terrible negative motivator! In the end your business will suffer consequences.

By way of example; at a company I worked for in a senior management capacity we disturbed an executive who had his door closed for quite some time. A staff member of mine had a master key and required access to the executive's office to get some material and on entering disturbed the executive who was sleeping under the desk on the floor. He was recovering from eye surgery and needed 5 days off on Doctors orders!

From our experience many workplaces do not have the human resource infrastructure or capacity to ensure that they comply with the myriad of regulations and complex legislation that is required to protect your business interests in today's workplace. However, you are not alone and there are practical solutions for your business.

A few questions could be

1. Have I noticed present employees who are not performing because of illness?

2. Am I actively looking after their welfare?

3. Do I know what my obligations are?

4. Have I policies and procedures to circumvent organisational illnesses such as stress?

5. Do I understand the risk involved in allowing the person to remain at work?

From our experience most employers are not aware of their obligations, consequences and risks and ignorance of these issues is 'no defence' in the eyes of the law. There are practical solutions to minimise your risks and give your biz momentum. For more information see

Philip Lye started his career in banking and finance as postage clerk for a major bank. He moved through various industry sectors and achieved executive management roles in business as Chief Executive Officer.

He has worked in small business, national and global companies and has significant international experience. Previous to founding Biz Momentum, Philip managed two companies out of impending ruin while being able to retain and develop the current employees.

Philip is a Certified Professional Human Resources Consultant and a qualified Accountant. Contact Philip at

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