How Much Presenteeism is Taking Place in Your Workplace?

By Frank Kenna

You may be asking, just what is Presenteeism?  It’s the opposite of absenteeism, where employees show up for work in less-than-optimal shape, in this case from lack of sleep.  An article in Wednesday’s The Wall Street Journal highlighted the issues caused by employees not getting enough sleep.  Which immediately raises two overall questions: 

1. What can managers do about the problem?

2. How can they communicate those changes to their people?

Regarding #1, some of the ideas mentioned in the article were about getting past the feeling of many employees that “sleep is for loafers,” and to realize that enough rest is critical to high functioning and productivity.  In fact, one company that addressed their sleep problems realized $672 in productivity gains per participant.  Other ideas include getting employees to go to bed earlier, shutting off their computer screens at least 1 hour before bed, and using special lights at workstations. 

Communicating these issues takes many forms such as meetings and seminars for the more complex solutions.  For getting quick tips and ideas in front of employees, using your digital signage systems can be key.  Just make sure to keep the ideas brief and leave them up long enough for employees to see each one 3-5 times.  And follow up on the ideas every week or two for a few months until the learning sinks in.

Frank Kenna III
January 25, 2013

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