Fellowes has launched new research urging business leaders to tackle the growing problem of ‘presenteeism’ across Britain. ‘Presenteeism’ has been identified as the new absenteeism when a worker is present but not able to perform their function properly, compromising their productivity.
More than half (52%) of UK workers are currently going to work when their performance is negatively affected by work-related health issues, and a third (34%) of workers have admitted they have even considered moving jobs due to the negative impact of their work environment on their health, the highest percentage across Europe.
Fellowes research shows that Brits are amongst the worst affected in Europe, with UK employees suffering regularly from backache (34%), neck ache (25%) and headaches (23%) as a direct result of how they are working. In addition, 1 in 5 (19%) UK workers highlighted weight problems, and 1 in 10 (8%) cited an increase in blood pressure as a result of poor wellbeing at work.
When analysing the cause of these health issues, the lack of awareness about good working practices in businesses becomes clear. The main bad habits UK employees admit to in the workplace include; poor posture when sitting at desks (55%), not drinking enough water during the day (42%), and sitting for too long without taking a break (42%). Worryingly, such health issues are reducing the daily volume of work employees are able to produce, leading to nearly a quarter (24%) of employees working extra hours or at the weekend on a regular basis to compensate – risking a reduction in employee engagement levels and further loss of focus in their work.
To tackle this growing problem, employers must start to implement a longer-term, more preventative approach to unhealthy working practices, rather than falling back on tactical ‘quick-fixes’. With 57 per cent of employees saying that they would stay in their jobs longer if more was done to look after their wellbeing, and 58 per cent saying that their work would be of a better quality, the solution to the productivity puzzle is clear. We can see there is a huge incentive for employers to address the causes of current work-related health issues to pave the way for a much happier, more engaged and ultimately more productive workforce.
Louise Shipley, European Business Team Manager, Workspace Management at Fellowes said, “our findings signal serious problems with how organisations are approaching wellbeing and productivity in the workplace. They show a clear lack of awareness around the causes and effects of a presenteeism culture in the office.
“The tools are there for business leaders to tackle presenteeism and help to prevent the widespread workplace health issues that are dragging down productivity and work quality. It’s time for leaders to take the reins and drive a potentially huge impact on their organisations.”
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