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What is the biggest risk to businesses, presenteeism or absenteeism?

Presenteeism Or Absenteeism

According to the Office of National Statistics 2018 report, there was 141.4 million days lost due to sickness. This is equivalent to 4.4 days per worker, this is a decrease in sickness rates by more than a third since 1995, why? As absenteeism is not responsible for this there must be another cause, presenteeism.

Whilst most workplaces have policies and processes in place to support members of staff who are absent, and the know costs of sickness, presenteeism is harder to measure than absenteeism and more challenging to judge the effect that this is having on your business.

What Is ‘Presenteeism’

What is ‘Presenteeism’, presenteeism is used to describe the issue of employees coming into work whilst unfit, instead of staying at home and recuperating. This term has now expanded to include employees who are disengaged or not altogether in their day-to-day work.

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) , presenteeism has tripled since 2010. It reports that more than four-fifths (83%) of its respondents had observed presenteeism in their workplace, and a quarter (25%) said the problem had got worse since the previous year.

Presenteeism is a clear and accelerating trend, which is highlighted by several studies, which have reached the same conclusion.

Research shows that people are significantly less productive when they are unwell and this can also become a hazard to others if they then pass on illness. There are also disengaged employees who are more likely to care less about their role and possibly make more mistakes. This all leads to a reduction in productivity and morale.

What Can Businesses Do?

Review your sickness policy, especially if it takes a hard line on being sick and is an aggressive policy.

If staff aren’t paid whilst they are ill or if you have incentives for 100% attendance, you may be encouraging employees to come in when they are ill.

If staff are disengaged, carry out an anonymous satisfaction survey to find out the cause of the issue, this may help you to reduce absenteeism.

Investigate the possibility of introducing a wellbeing initiative such as:

  • No evening emailing or phone calls – we know as a business leader it is unrealistic to expect you not to check your emails outside regular hours. Although by doing this you could be setting a dangerous precedent for your employees. If they are receiving emails outside of normal working hours, the temptation can be to answer them immediately to prove their dedication to your company.
  • Physiotherapy Team – 40% of all sickness and presenteeism can be attributed to Musculoskeletal Injuries/Disorders and having a team that you can refer too, will help you return employees  to full health & fitness, whilst equipping them with the tools to prevent reoccurrence. Find out more about our Workplace Physio services and how they can help your business.
  • Discourage employees taking work home – Whether it is to complete work outside normal hours or even to use their leave entitlement to complete work.

In conclusion it would depend upon your policies, procedures and existing measures as to which is the biggest threat to you and your business, is it presenteeism or is absenteeism?

Our Physiotherapy Team Can Help Your Business

Our Physiotherapy team are ready to help your business. Our workplace physiotherapy solutions can provide your workforce with timely access to physiotherapy as and when your employees need it. Calculate the cost of employee sickness with our online employee sickness calculator.

References used:

  1. Health and Well-Being at Work May 2018 CIPD & Simplyhealth. https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/health-and-well-being-at-work_tcm18-40863.pdf
  2. Sickness absence in the UK Labour market 2018 Office of National Statistics – read article.
  3. The rise of ‘presenteeism’ in the workplace 14 April 2019, Emma Simpson BBC News https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47911210
  4. Presenteeism – the UK’s biggest threat to productivity 1 June 2018, Steve Thompson The HR Director – read feature.
November 20, 2019

Physio Services can reduce healthcare costs and absenteeism

Reduced Absenteeism

INVESTMENT in physiotherapy services for musculoskeletal conditions improves patient outcomes and reduces overall healthcare costs, a new report from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) shows.


Musculoskeletal conditions are the leading cause of pain and disability in the UK, affecting more than one in four people. The evidence from the report Moving Forward: Physiotherapy for Musculoskeletal Health and Wellbeing highlights the importance of physiotherapy for treating these conditions.


This themed review brings together more than 30 physiotherapy related published studies funded by the NIHR and selected studied from other research organisations, which have made a difference to musculoskeletal care in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, low back pain and chronic knee joint pain.


Moving Forward is particularly aimed at physiotherapy staff involved in direct clinical practice but is also relevant to other clinicians in the musculoskeletal care team.


The findings show:


Investment in high quality rehabilitation adapted to individuals patient needs, lead to better outcomes, reduces further investigations and treatment, and reduces costs.


Physiotherapists offering advice on lower back pain reduced absence from work by an average of around five days.


Telephone assessment by physiotherapist meant people waited an average of seven days for contact with a physio, compared to a usual average waiting time of 34 days. Stretching and strengthening hand exercises improved function for people with rheumatoid arthritis.


There is overwhelming evidence that exercise and activity are effective and should be a core treatment in musculoskeletal pain. An NIHR review of over 60 trails- most for knee osteoarthritis-showed clear benefit of exercise.


A rehabilitation programme including targeted exercise reduced knee joint pain and healthcare costs


Published in TalkBack Autumn 2018 Available for download at Click Here


Want to know more?

  • Call DDB Physiotherapy Clinic on 02392 552266 and how we can help reduce absenteeism for musculoskeletal conditions and facilitate a faster return to work.


September 27, 2018

    Welcome to our Blog, we at DDB Physiotherapy Clinic like to keep individuals informed about new and exciting things that are happening within the world of Private Healthcare and any new development within DDB Physiotherapy Clinic.