Underlying Factors Contributing To Presenteeism And Absenteeism

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Tammy Prater
Kim Smith


presenteeism, absenteeism, work productivity, medical condition, co-morbidites, stress, anxiety, work-life balance


Modern workplaces must learn how to respond effectively to two trends which can cost employers billions of dollars each year in lost productivity: presenteeism and absenteeism.   In 2010, the annual cost of presenteeism, $180 billion, surpassed the cost of absenteeism, $118 billion (Weaver, 2010).  According to the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language (2006), presenteeism is defined as “the practice of coming to work despite illness, injury, anxiety, etc., often resulting in reduced productivity”.   According to Dictionary.com Unabridged (n.d.), absenteeism is defined as “habitual failure to appear, especially for work or other regular duty”.  In the past, the main attributable factor for presenteeism and absenteeism was workers being sick; however, this research uncovered other underlying causes for this phenomenon.  In addition, this research expanded the existing research and found other ways employees cost employers in lost productivity, one of which included conducting personal business during working hours. The research concluded, through the use of Chi-Square tests for independence, there was dependency between some of the variables.


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