Remote presenteeism: what is it and how does it affect us?

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Remote presenteeism: what is it and how does it affect us?

Tackling presenteeism has always been an issue for both businesses and employees, but now with remote working it is a completely different challenge.


What is presenteeism?

Presenteeism is when employees work when they are not physically or mentally capable of being 100 percent productive. This could be due to feeling unwell, anxious or stress from home. Remote presenteeism is the same as traditional presenteeism, except instead of always being in the office, employees are always online.


The effects of presenteeism

Presenteeism can create just as many challenges as absenteeism for employers. In the long-term, presenteeism leads to:

  • Stress
  • Concentration problems
  • Decreased productivity
  • Issues with mental health
  • Burnout


The effects on mental health and loss of productivity are believed to cost businesses £15 billion every year.


Presenteeism and remote working

Before the pandemic, it was reported that 83% of workers had witnessed presenteeism at work.  Now, presenteeism has gone virtual. Without clear barriers, employees feel obliged to work longer, respond to emails later and go that extra mile. The average working day has actually increased by 30 minutes in the UK since the start of the pandemic.


Combatting remote presenteeism

Review workload

Employees feeling overwhelmed by their to-do list can lead to them working all the time. To combat this, they should review their workload and practice time management and prioritising.


Turn off tech

Logging out at the end of the day is crucial to overcoming presenteeism. Technical devices have created an ‘always on’ culture where we are all contactable, all the time. Not working outside of set work hours will help to minimise stress and combat burnout.



Bringing up any challenges with presenteeism to your employer is important to enact change.


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