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Words nearby presenteeism
What does presenteeism mean?
Presenteeism is the practice of employees habitually coming to work when they shouldn’t—especially coming in sick or working overly long hours.
Presenteeism is modeled after absenteeism, which is the opposite: employees habitually not coming to work. Although presenteeism was once used in a neutral or even positive way to refer to workers showing up for their jobs, it is now almost always used negatively.
Example: Companies that put an overemphasis on productivity often end up dealing with presenteeism and all of its negative effects—including decreased productivity.
Where does presenteeism come from?
Absenteeism is first recorded in the 1820s, but the first records of presenteeism don’t show up (show up—get it?) until more than 100 years later, in the 1930s. Presenteeism is a play on absenteeism, which is formed from the word absentee (meaning “someone who is absent, especially from school or work”) and the suffix -ism, indicating the practice of something. Presentee is a word, but it’s typically not used to mean “someone who is present.”
Presenteeism was originally used to simply mean “the practice of employees showing up as they should.” For example, instead of discouraging absenteeism, some companies instead encouraged presenteeism. Around the 1980s, though, presenteeism started to be used in more negative ways. Sometimes it was used to refer to situations in which workers were present but were not working at their full ability (because they were mentally checked out, as we might say today). Eventually, it came to refer to employees consistently showing up for work when they shouldn’t, especially when sick (and likely to get their fellow employees sick).
Presenteeism can happen in all levels of jobs, and it can be caused by a lot of factors. Employees may show up sick because they don’t get paid for sick days and can’t afford to miss work. Or workers may feel pressure to be visible in the office—and to not leave before their boss does—leading to unnecessarily long hours. Studies suggest that presenteeism isn’t good for anybody: it’s bad for workers because it can lead to poor health and burnout, and it’s bad for employers because it can actually reduce productivity.
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How is presenteeism used in real life?
Presenteeism is often used in the context of workplace issues, especially its impact on productivity and employee health. Healthcare professionals also discuss it alongside related issues, like work stress. It is almost always discussed in terms of its negative effects.
Great piece @JulieDOdams – my husband worked in Japan and I remember the presenteeism culture. It's strange to think about the contrast of collective responsibility vs the lack of personal responsibility afforded to workers (ie. through flex working as you note) https://t.co/MH7wvD6DAG
— KathMiddleditch (@KathMiddleditch) February 12, 2020
Like presenteeism this encourages very bad work cultures & is a real threat to productivity. The right not to work, when your not being paid to work is crucial in today’s modern workplace. Not just emails, training, shift rotas etc. https://t.co/0a9wgzhZa4
— Jennifer McCarey (@Jenmccarey) February 8, 2020
I liked to get things done, and would do what was necessary – but only that. Email is often just displacement activity and/or a weak form of presenteeism.
Glad to see your wife successfully establishing some red lines – we're employees, not bonded serfs!
— John McDonnell (@mcdonnelljp) February 7, 2020
Try using presenteeism!
How is presenteeism most commonly used?
How to use presenteeism in a sentence
There is nobody checking to make sure you’re at your desk, no culture of presenteeism, which we all know can be a big stressor in an office environment.Remote, distributed or hybrid: Navigating the future of a global return to work|Jessica Davies|March 15, 2021|Digiday
Remote presenteeism is being driven by job insecurity, poor management and a never-ending diary of virtual meetings.
Despite the move to more remote working, brands and agencies are in danger of replacing the much-criticized physical form of presenteeism with a new online version.
The reality is that this really happened and presenteeism is not that funny.
The same goes for direct sales teams, who can focus less on presenteeism in the office and instead spend more time with customers.The closure of newsrooms is a symbolic end of a publishing era|Lara O'Reilly|August 18, 2020|Digiday