Managing presenteeism

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A discussion paper

23 May 2011

Presenteeism means reduced productivity when employees come to work and are not fully engaged or perform at lower levels as a result of ill health.

Centre for Mental Health calculated that presenteeism from mental ill health alone costs the UK economy £15.1 billion per annum, while absenteeism costs £8.4 billion.

Research shows that presenteeism is hugely costly to employers, but all too often ignored. Managing it well not only saves money in both the short and longer term, but also contributes to the development of an engaged and productive workforce.

This paper discusses ways in which employers might be able to respond to presenteeism based on research and experience, as exemplified in the BITC Workwell Model for creating the conditions in which people can flourish.

We hope it will stimulate further debate and more evidence of how to manage presenteeism in practice.

Audience: policy makers, employers, HR departments.

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