Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Presenteeism in the Work Place

Guest Blog by Lucy Burton-Browne

We`ve all experienced those days when for various personal reasons, we really don`t want to be at work. Those are the days when we put ourselves on automatic pilot and try to get through the day as best we can. Although this is normal for everyone, there are some people who are so overwhelmed by personal problems or financial issues that their work performance suffers. It`s not always easy to leave our personal problems at home when we get to the office, but for employees who are chronically distressed by these issues, it`s virtually impossible.
If you`re an employer and you`ve noticed that your employees tend to be more distracted by problems at home, you`re not alone. This condition, which is called presenteeism, has become something of an epidemic in the workplace since the onset of the economic recession. Money problems at home lead to other personal problems as well and due to the current economic climate, some employees are finding it harder and harder to leave their troubles at home.
If you`re an employer, here are some of the signs that an employee is under personal stress:
  • Verbal reactions that are inconsistent or unusual for that person.
  • Changes in personality, such as being quieter and more subdued or acting more aggressively.
  • Emotionalism during the workday, such as overreacting, laughing too much, crying or looking sad.
For supervisors and managers, the most important thing is to provide a comfortable environment for employees and one in which they feel they`ll be supported. Otherwise, employees who are in a vulnerable, highly emotional state may feel oppressed and even threatened by the atmosphere at work and this will add greatly to their stress level.
By creating a positive work environment, employers can motivate and inspire their staff members with confidence. Here are a few things that employers can do to create a better, more comfortable workplace:
  1. Motivate employees with incentives. Whether it`s a coupon for a free dinner, a basket of goodies from the gourmet grocery store or a cash bonus, employees need to be rewarded for excellent work. You`ll find that it`s well worth the investment to offer an incentive reward to your staff members every week or two.
  2. Talk to your employees. If you notice that any of them seem to exhibit some of the signs of presenteeism, have a private talk with them. Without prying into their personal lives, let them know that, while it`s obvious that something is wrong, you`re not threatening to fire them; you just want to see if there`s anything you can do to help. A little compassion can go a long way with an emotionally distraught employee.
  3. Delegate within your work staff. Make sure that the brunt of the work isn`t falling on one person. If it seems that there are a few people who are carrying everyone else, step in and divide the workload more evenly. Otherwise, your best employees may break down under the stress and strain.
Whether you`re considering  saving money or looking at your post-employment financial options, it`s important for everyone to take care of their finances while they`re still working. Offering consultations and seminars on budgeting, saving money and investing is one way to show your employees that you`re concerned about their financial worries. By presenting your staff members with financial counseling, you`re offering a valuable support system that in turn, will result in increased productivity during working hours.

Guest Blogger Lucy Burton-Browne does Online Marketing for