Why are "leavism" and "presenteeism" still prevalent?

Why are “leavism” and “presenteeism” still prevalent?

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly altered today’s working world, reevaluating career values, professional traditions and workplace norms. A shift towards flexible working hours, remote operations and shortened workweeks marked a significant departure from the past.

However, the lingering prevalence of “leavism” and “presenteeism” raises important questions about the evolution of workplace culture.

Understanding the concepts
Presenteeism refers to the practice of employees working longer than required, often when unwell or unproductive, symbolising a commitment that might not translate to real output. Leavism, on the other hand, is when employees use their allocated time off, such as annual leave, to work – further blurring the boundaries between professional and personal life.

The pandemic forced a recalibration of work-life balance, enabling employees to explore new, flexible ways of fulfilling their professional responsibilities. The prospect of spending more time with family and engaging in leisure activities kindled a desire for lasting alterations in working schedules. Employers responded, offering unprecedented levels of flexibility and remote working options. However, this newfound freedom also brought challenges, chiefly the dissolution of personal and professional boundaries, contributing significantly to the culture of presenteeism.

The rise of digital presenteeism
Data from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) highlighted a concerning trend: a decrease in traditional presenteeism but a surge in digital presenteeism, particularly among remote workers. The shift to digital platforms and increased online communication heightened employee visibility, fostering a culture of constant availability and attendance pressure, consequently leading to burnout and mental health concerns.

Eroding trust and communication
Central to the issue of presenteeism is the fragile trust relationship between employees and employers. The pandemic era showcased a decline in trust, with Gallup’s research indicating only 21% of US employees expressed strong trust in their company’s leaders. This erosion of trust, stemming from poor communication and unclear organisational strategies, further cemented the culture of presenteeism, with employees feeling the need to perpetually demonstrate their value through visibility.

Employer’s role in shifting paradigms
Addressing and ultimately overcoming the pervasive issues of leavism and presenteeism necessitates a focused and empathetic approach from employers. Senior leaders play a pivotal role in reshaping workplace culture by discouraging the celebration of the “always-on” mentality and fostering an environment that values genuine contributions over mere presence. Employers must recognise the potential exacerbating effects of pandemic-induced changes and proactively work towards establishing clear boundaries and promoting trust.

Strategies for a balanced future
A balanced and productive working environment requires a shift in focus towards employee well-being and empowerment. Defining and adhering to working hours, fostering open communication, and building a culture of trust are foundational steps towards dismantling presenteeism. Employers and employees must collaboratively explore innovative solutions, prioritising mental health and work-life balance, to navigate the evolving landscape of the modern workplace.

About Sam P

EnterpriseZone Staff Writer

Leave a Reply