Presenteeism and Organizational Mental Health

ORGANIZATIONAL AND BUSINESS

Presenteeism and Organizational Mental Health

Organizations, like people, are healthy or unhealthy. They are dynamic organisms that function in or out of alignment in pursuit of their objectives. Over the past decade, diagnosing organizational dysfunction has become more and more common, particularly as it relates to leadership and team dynamics. The emotional or mental health of an organization is something that can be both diagnosed and treated.

One of the most common dysfunctions in organizations today is Presenteeism. Presenteeism is defined as lost productivity that occurs when employees come to work but perform below par due to either physical or mental illness. While the costs associated with employee absenteeism are both obvious and well known, the costs of presenteeism are not. This is likely because we fail to treat mental and emotional problems with the same interest and compassion that we do physical ones.

Presenteeism describes employees who are present, but not fully accounted for. These individuals may be physically ill, but more often are apathetic, depressed, fearful or simply exhibit an attitude of entitlement, all contributing to productivity losses at work. Researchers currently calculate that the costs of lost productivity to be 7.5 times greater than costs due to absenteeism.

What are the causes of Presenteeism? Why do employees show up sick? Why do leaders and high achievers continue to work 10 to 12 hours daily, setting the standard for how employees should follow them? Mostly it happens because we are unaware of our predominant need or striving and our strongest emotion, fear, causes us to override our intuition and reason. We know more about how to take care of ourselves than ever before, however, but our behaviour has not yet shifted.

Stay tuned for causes and solutions …….

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