A new study looks at how presenteeism -- going to work while ill -- can be harmful to more than just the individual, and why it is that certain organizational cultures promote the practice
Your nose is running, your throat is scratchy, and your eyes are burning. But you drag yourself out of bed, dress, and head to the office anyway feeling virtuous and sick. Once there, you proceed to share your virus with your coworkers. But at least you showed up to get the job done, right?
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Wrong, according to a new study. Presenteeism -- attending work while ill -- is not always a smart choice for individuals or the organizations for which they work. It is entirely possible that a worker who is ill may be present physically, but mentally he or she might as well be home in bed.
A flu or cold virus or other illness spreading among coworkers can mean the loss of more than one employee's productivity. It can paralyze entire departments. The study found that certain organizational cultures tend to promote presenteeism, or at least discourage absenteeism.
For the study, Gary Johns, a management professor at Concordia's John Molson School of Business surveyed 444 people, asking about their job requirements, work experience, the numbers of days they had been out sick (absenteeism), and the number of days they had come to work feeling ill (presenteeism).