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  • Laila Datoo

How to reduce presenteeism and absenteeism in the workplace

Presenteeism and absenteeism are two common workplace issues that can have a significant impact on productivity, employee satisfaction, and overall organizational success. In this blog, we will explore the differences between presenteeism and absenteeism, their causes and effects, and provide some tips on how to reduce both.

Presenteeism is a phenomenon where employees come to work but are not fully engaged or productive. They may be physically present but mentally absent, distracted, or unwell, which affects their ability to perform at their best. This can lead to reduced productivity, poor quality work, and increased risk of mistakes and accidents.

On the other hand, absenteeism is when employees are not present at work, either due to illness, personal reasons, or other factors. This can lead to increased workload for other employees, missed deadlines, and a decrease in overall productivity.

Both presenteeism and absenteeism can have negative impacts on employee well-being, workplace culture, and organizational success. However, there are several ways to reduce their occurrence and mitigate their effects.

So how do we reduce presenteeism and absenteeism?

Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance

One of the most effective ways to reduce presenteeism and absenteeism is to promote a healthy work-life balance. Encourage employees to take breaks, prioritize their health, and take time off when they need it. This can help reduce burnout, stress, and mental health issues that can lead to both presenteeism and absenteeism.

Encourage Open Communication

Creating a culture of open communication can help reduce the stigma around mental health and encourage employees to speak up when they are struggling. This can help managers identify early warning signs of presenteeism and absenteeism and take action to address the underlying issues.

Provide Support and Resources

Provide key resources and support for employees that may be struggling, this could include access to mental health services, flexible work arrangements, programs that support work-life balance. Most importantly ensure that they have the on-the-job workplace support to reduce the impact from the stresses of their day job.

Train Managers to Recognize and Address Presenteeism and Absenteeism

Training managers to recognize the employees in their teams that are disengaged and help them find ways to address it. Whilst absenteeism could be something outside of theirs and the employee’s control, presenteeism could be addressed by tackling the cause at the root. This could include providing additional resources or making adjustments to their workload.

Monitor and Measure Rates of Absenteeism and Presenteeism

By ignoring the risk of absenteeism and presenteeism and not monitoring it, you might find the effects creep up on you gradually. Take steps now to track things like sick days, analyse productivity and conduct surveys to ensure that you can quickly identify patterns and take action to address them.


Presenteeism and absenteeism are common workplace issues that can have a significant impact on your business’s productivity and employee well-being. Consistently promoting a healthy work-life balance, making improvements to communication, checking in and providing the right support, training and other resources can help to minimise the damage.

As a wellbeing expert I am here to help. I work with high-achieving and committed managers who want to support their own wellbeing, and that of their team members. I can provide practical, yet transformational solutions that have helped hundreds of professionals beat stress and the causes of absenteeism and presenteeism. It all starts when you do.


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