E-Presenteeism – How to prevent it
What is E-Presenteeism?
E-presenteeism refers to the phenomenon where employees feel pressure to constantly be available, even outside of traditional working hours.
E-presenteeism can have a detrimental effect on employees’ mental health, well-being, and productivity. Businesses need to address this issue by promoting healthy work boundaries, encouraging work-life balance, and fostering a supportive work culture that values employee well-being.
What are some examples of E-presenteeism?
Checking work emails outside of working hours:
Employees may feel they need to check and respond to work emails, or messages during evenings, weekends, days off, or annual leave, blurring the lines between work and personal life.
Responding to work messages instantly:
If there is an expectation for employees to respond to work-related messages instantly (slack, Teams, etc), then this can lead to interruptions during days off, or annual leave.
Feeling guilty for disconnecting:
Employees may feel guilty or anxious about disconnecting from work-related communication tools, fearing they will miss out on important information.
The accessibility we have to our laptop, or work phone, can lead to employees working longer hours than necessary, which may impact their work-life balance and well-being.
Employees may perceive a culture where being constantly connected and responsive to work is valued and rewarded, leading to peer pressure to exhibit similar behaviour.
What can I do to prevent or reduce E-Presenteeism?
Set clear expectations:
Establish clear guidelines regarding working hours, communication channels, and expected response times. And encourage your employees to disconnect outside of work hours to avoid burnout.
Encourage time off:
Encourage regular breaks, and for employees to use all their annual leave. Promote a culture where taking time off is not only accepted, but expected, in order to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Offer TRUE flexible working, to ALL staff. This can help reduce pressure to be constantly available during traditional working hours. We speak more about what true flexible working is here: https://www.gbsolutions.co.uk/what-is-true-flexible-working/
Promote a healthy work-life balance:
Provide resources and training on time management, and stress reduction. Encourage employees to prioritise self-care and set boundaries around work-related communication.
Lead by example:
Managers and leaders should model healthy work habits by respecting boundaries, taking breaks, and prioritising their own well-being. Create a supportive work environment by encouraging open communication about workload and stress levels.
Evaluate performance objectively:
Focus on results and outcomes, rather than hours worked, or immediate response times. Encourage a culture where productivity and effectiveness are valued over constant availability.
Schedule regular check-ins with employees to discuss workload, priorities, and any challenges they may be facing. This provides an opportunity to address any concerns about e-presenteeism and offer support as needed.
Provide guidelines on appropriate use of communication tools, and encourage employees to set boundaries, such as; turning off notifications outside of working hours, setting themselves as busy/away/do not disturb when completing tasks, and not expecting responses right away, just because you send an “instant message”.
Ask for feedback, and action it:
Seek feedback from employees on their experience with remote working and e-presenteeism. And use this feedback to adapt your policies and practices.
E-presenteeism poses a significant challenge to the well-being and productivity of employees in today’s digital age. However, by acknowledging and addressing this issue, businesses can create a more supportive work environment that values employee well-being.
By implementing the above measures and fostering a culture that prioritises employee well-being, businesses can mitigate the negative impacts of e-presenteeism and create a more sustainable and fulfilling work environment for their employees.
About the Author:
Tess is our Operations & Marketing Manager, and one of her biggest passions is educating both clients and candidates through blogs, articles, and social media posts. She has worked at GB Solutions for over 5 years, so has a good understanding of the business and ensures she keeps up-to-date with everything going on in the world of recruitment.