Posts Tagged ‘Stress Reducation’

13 December 31 - Work Life BalanceGenerally, it is assumed that if an employee is absent, his or her productivity must be suffering.  Conversely, if the same employee is putting in extra time and skipping vacations, he or she must be highly productive.  But these assumptions are not always true.  A recent study conducted by England’s Manchester University, showed that overworking creates more stress and lessens personal time.  This has a trickle-down effect, and employees are actually less productive than if they had just worked their assigned hours and taken scheduled vacation time.

The phenomenon is dubbed “presenteeism,” a first cousin to employee absenteeism (Named by Cary Cooper, Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at ManchesterUniversity in England).  Presenteeism, simply put, is when people come to work but aren’t functioning fully because they have physical or mental health problems.

Data suggests that presenteeism is a larger productivity drain than either absenteeism or short-term disability.  Given the seriousness of the situation, employers and employees need to take a proactive stance.

             Here are a few tips to address the issue of presenteeism.

  • Strike the work-life balance.  Achieving a balance means different things to different people, but it’s important to achieve a balance that is comfortable for you and your family.
  • Support and maintain regular work hours.  Working long hours or taking work home on a routine basis is strongly discouraged.
  • Honor vacation time and sick leave provisions.  Make it a habit to use your full annual leave.
  • Plan your day.  Work from a to-do list.  Take 10 minutes each morning to identify those things that need to be accomplished.
  • Recognize your peak energy times.  Do the tough tasks when your energy level is at its highest.  Save routine work for low points of the day.
  • Get plenty of sleep.  Make it a point to get at least eight hours of sleep.  Your body cannot make up for lost sleep or rest time because it’s not physiologically possible.
  • Preserve your days off.  Make your days off strictly personal time. Ignore errands and chores.  Focus on yourself, relax and refresh.
  • Eat a balanced diet.  Workaholics are known to skip meals, thus eating poorly.
  • Exercise.  Set aside time each day to give your body the proper physical conditioning it needs.

As you begin 2014, make a resolution to work so you can live and have a comfortable life.  Remember that you don’t live to work.  Don’t make work your life.

Written by:  Cindy Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, PerryCounty, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by:  Polly Loy, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Belmont County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by:  Jenny Lindimore, Office Associate, OSU Extension, MorganCounty, Buckeye Hills EERA


Farrell, P. (2013, May). The Real 800-Pound Gorilla of Presenteeism. Retrieved December 18, 2013 from blogs.hbr.org/2013/05/the-worst-kind-of-presenteeism/

Hochschild, A. (1997).  The time blind: When work becomes home and home becomes work. New York: Holt.

Hummer, J., Sherman, B., & Quinn, N. (2002, April).  Present and Unaccounted for. Occupational Health Safety.  2002 Apr; 7 1 4):40-2, 44, 100.

Johns, G. (2009). Presenteeism in the workplace: A review and research agenda Journal of Organizational Behavior, 31 (4), 519-542 DOI: 10.1002/job.630

Lewis, S. & Cooper, Cary L. (1999).  The Work-Family Research Agenda in Changing Contexts. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Vol. 4, 382-393.

Lewis, S. & Cooper, Cary L. (1996).  Balancing the work and family interface: A European perspective.  Human Resource Management Review, 5, 289-305.

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