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The problem with presenteeism

Defining presenteeism is just the first problem in analysing its effects on workers. Dr Nerys Williams considers various opinions and studies.

Key points

  • There is no one universally agreed definition of presenteeism. This makes measuring and calculating its costs difficult. Studies that have been undertaken are largely on US populations and in sectors where measurement of loss of productivity is easier. There is little information available in sectors such as healthcare, where dealing with presenteeism could be of key importance in delivering the necessary improvements in productivity required by the harsher economic environment.