Reducing Presenteeism

Coming to work mentally or emotionally distracted by domestic and personal matters is inevitable. We are not monks, we are human. Human beings cannot compartmentalise physical or emotional pain. We can compartmentalise mental and spiritual pain. Which is why the nature based skills of handling emotional and physical pain are a great investment for any organisation.

Instead of demanding compliance to cultural values, which sends individuals into a state of “fake it till you make it” during times of personal challenge, what is needed is the natural skills of getting through challenges, big and small, faster.

But there’s resistance. The individual who is feeling unloved at home may want to keep their private circumstances a secret from those at work who may judge them. The individual who is feeling down physically because they’ve gained a few kilos may overcompensate at work and try to be friendly to the world while they beat themselves up. The education that is required at work is the eradication of excuses for not turning up – i.e. Presenteeism.

With a no blame – no excuse policy, there’s also a need to offer the olive branch, a means and skill in helping each and every individual sort through their personal challenges in a real, sustainable and loving way. This is currently way beyond the capability of the average manager and who wants to put their baggage on the table with a boss who is probably no better at dealing with their personal agenda than we are?

External interventions, such as life coaches within organisations can go a long way to help but from my experience, life coaches want to keep their jobs too, so they are somewhat hamstrung in helping people challenge the excuses, blame and circumstances of their personal life (there’s a lot of push back when you tell an emotionally uptight person that they are the cause of their own pain). But that’s what needs to happen.

A culture of human potential requires skills taught to the individual so they can be self reliant and recognise when they are off track. We call these recognitions, “red flags” and if they are personally owned, the process for dealing with the cause of the “presenteeism” can be addressed in a personal, private and rapid way. It has two benefits, one is to the company because people turn up and do their job well without causing undue turmoil in the culture and the second is that personal problems at home don’t fester, infecting kids, families, health, wealth and happiness.

Personal development is natural. These skills are not science. Science seems to think it needs to invent an understanding of human nature. That’s like looking for your car keys when they’re in your pocket. Human nature, personal development is getting harder but not because science is failing us, it’s because we are urbanising, separating ourselves from nature, relying more and more on intellect, emotion and ego to cause, and then solve problems. That’ll never work.

Natural human development slides straight past the ego, it’s raw and honest just like nature. Natural human development emulates a tree: reach for the sun, dig the roots to nourish, adapt to the environment and let go the dead wood. Think it though, you may be surprised at just how quickly you start to find solutions to issues that may have been bugging you for months.

Other Ways to Fight Presenteeism And Help People Turn Up at Work

The results of poor inner environments also have implications in the workplace in the form of “presenteeism.” Presenteeism describes the phenomenon in which people clock in for work, but are mentally removed from the workplace, causing labor-related personal, financial and cultural losses for the company.

Presenteeism can result from sleepiness, headaches, colds, and environmental drain, if air supply is poor. But it is mostly due to emotional and mental distraction caused by:

  • Domestic challenges
  • Tiredness
  • Mental strain
  • Loss of motivation
  • Disillusionment with management
  • Health issues

Presenteeism costs employers in the private sector $938 per employee and for employers in the public sector $1,250 per employee per year (USA) and estimated double this figure in Australia and Canada.

For a company with 100 employees, this equates to over US $100,000 lost per year in unproductive time at work due to presenteeism.

Here are some quick fix solutions to presenteeism:

  • Provide access to natural daylighting, outdoor views, and natural ventilation can reduce eyestrain, relieve mental fatigue and return workers’ attention to their work.
  • Harmonic thinking based on natural balancing awareness can sustainably reduce mental and emotional distraction after just one session. HR managers have noted significant improvements in productivity and “tone” using Harmonic Thinking.
  • Uniforms create team culture and lessen the differentiation created by identity and ego. All sports teams use this and some public organisations such as airlines recognise the benefits.
  • Limited work hours in which employees who work more than eight hours a day are considered incompetent at their work reverses the antiquated notion of “more time, better work.”
  • Moving from motivational techniques which require constant stimulation to inspiration techniques which require no stimulation other than that of healthy, personal self-leadership.
  • Total Human Awareness – where life balance is defined as balance in each area of life (there are 7) rather than balancing one against the other.
  • Clear emphasis on Vision, Inspiration and Purpose at work turning individual focus away from self improvement to a mission greater than self.

If you’d love to know more please make contact and we’ll arrange a call.


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