Presenteeism in the work place

My son is due to be born in 6 weeks. As any parent will attest, it is one of the scariest yet exciting times you can ever go through.

Having had my first daughter just over 18 months ago, I can still vividly remember the absolute head fuck that was labour. It gave me an absolute unequivocal and eternal respect for every lady who has been through that (big up mums).

I am really am not the biggest fan of attempts to create analogies, metaphors and anecdotes of ‘real life’ situations and link them in some tedious way to work – but I am going to damn well do it (I also said I would never get snapchat, listen to Post Malone or use Uber).

Since having the (fortuitous) opportunity to start OX Seven I have seen an incredible amount of parallels between starting a business and fathering a child (insert smutty joke about how quickly it took to create here).

There are frequent days where I have the overwhelming guilt that I have put more time in to my BB (business baby) than my RLB (real life baby) and agonise over missing bed time baths and stories (apparently Sienna is not a Dale Carnegie fan anyway).

How can you begin to apportion your time effectively to something which keeps you up all night, is a constant financial stress, causes numerous spousal arguments and a baby?

It is incredibly hard and is a constant balancing act.

Something which I have thought more and more about is presenteeism. This works in both scenarios: when I am at work, am I maximising my productivity and output and not being distracted of Whatsapp videos of Sienna saying ‘fart’ or ‘pooh’ (the two words I have successfully managed to teach her). When I am at home, am I present in the moment and not distracted by things which should be left at work (like responding to candidate rejection e-mails or my constant competitor analysis)?

I think it is so important for workplaces of the future to break the (often) subconscious requirement for presenteeism in the workplace. You don’t need to be changed to your desk 8am – 6pm regardless of  health or performance to demonstrate delivery. The stress, anxiety and further mental health issues the imposing of constant office attendance brings, does far more good than bad. This is backed up by cold hard figures:

‘Presenteeism’, or people coming into work when they are ill, has more than tripled since 2010, according to the latest CIPD/Simplyhealth Health and Well-being at Work survey.

86% of over 1,000 respondents to the 2018 survey said they had observed presenteeism in their organisation over the last 12 months, compared with 72% in 2016 and just 26% in 2010’.

Despite this growing trend, only 25% of the above organisations have taken steps to address this unhealthy practice.

If you are unfortunate enough to be in the 75% you should encourage this conversation with your employer. I completely acknowledge that there some professions which can not accommodate flexible working, but there are a huge amount who could benefit from a little infrastructure investment to allow an adaption of working practice.

We are calling RLB v.2 Arthur William Grashoff for those who are interested.

Will Grashoff

Managing Director

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