Presenteeism in the Workplace - The Accelerating Trend

Photo by  Pim Chu  on  Unsplash

Photo by Pim Chu on Unsplash

Presenteeism: the practice of persistently working longer hours, working when ill and taking fewer holidays to show your employer that you work hard and are important.

The relatively recently classified condition of presenteeism has been around for a very long time. In a recent study the CIPD said more than four-fifths (83%) of its respondents had observed presenteeism in their organisation, and a quarter (25%) said the problem had got worse since the previous year. So this trend of presenteeism in the workplace is on the rise.

What are the causes of Presenteeism?

Some of the reasons are caused by illness but more often they are based on other factors such as the fear of losing your job, not being considered a team player, being seen as disloyal to colleagues and the workplace, adding to your colleagues workload, together with a lack of self esteem.

When working under these conditions the effectiveness of your performance and output can be severely compromised by stress and fatigue.

The preservation of your professional image may be uppermost on your mind as you struggle to get to work when feeling ill or under the weather.

Some occupations and work environments are more prone to presenteeism

Particularly healthcare and education, but also workplaces where a machismo attitude 'counts'. Recent research suggests that higher risks jobs, which have more physical workload and stress saw increased levels of presenteeism.

Workplace stress, like all stress, changes the way we think and behave. We lose the focus and clarity which we need to make us really productive and effective. When stressed it is hard to be both accurate and quick, but research on US Airforce pilots has shown that when taught to meditate they could withstand greater pressure and stress.

Meditation allows you to get on top of, and control, many of the the pressures of a typical workplace.

Most of us are chronically sleep deprived, neither spending enough time asleep  or getting the proper nourishment it should provide. This is the time when we naturally heal and de-stress but most working people are always running short. Meditation does not replace sleep but it will give you very deep rest, and time to de-excite and release long held stress.

There are many benefits from a regular meditation practice and Vedic Meditation, which I have used for over four and a half decades, will help melt away fatigue and anxiety, allowing you think straight and perform at your best. Your health will improve, and your self esteem will rise allowing you to feel ok about taking time off when you know intuitively that going into work is not good idea.


Does your workplace have an ever increasing “epidemic” of presenteeism? Are you suffering with stress and anxiety? Meditation could help you and your workplace manage the pressures of modern life better. Come along to one of our free introductory talks in London. We also offer corporate packages so please get in touch to discuss requirements.

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Anthony Thompson