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Going To Work When Ill Is Detrimental To Both Employees & Employers

Going to work when one is ill is actually a bad idea for the employer himself: the organisation pays the cost of low productivity when the performance of employees is compromised.

working while sick

Working when ill (‘presenteeism’) comes with negative effects on both the employee and the firm. Not only can the workers worsen their health, but the decreased productivity impacts directly on the organisation.

Why do people still persist to go to work when they are sick? A new research suggests that involuntary presenteeism is caused by high job demands, stress, and job insecurity. Furthermore, the downside of staying at home when ill also presses workers to go to work anyway: inadequate sick pay and/ or financial troubles discourage them from taking a leave.

It is also said that fear is an important drive that accounts for sick employees signing up for a normal day’s work. Fearing lest one loses one’s job, one is compelled to make the worse choice.

Yet others, however, freely make the choice because of their tendency to display zeal and commitment for their jobs. This is not always a good idea though. Stress pertaining to high job demands and job insecurity may actually cause illness which would need recovery time and thus leave from work. If the employees decide to persist even then, their health will further pay the price. Also, heavy workload, coupled with unpaid overtime, will possibly lead to cases of burnout and physical illnesses.

All in all, presenteeism exerts certain effects on health. Therefore, staying at home when ill protects one’s health in the long run. Employers should also take this into consideration: not only are they contributing to the ill-health of their employees when they encourage presenteeism, but they are also creating situations where their own firm pays a heavy price.


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