Notttingham Trent University has launched a study that seeks to understand ‘presenteeism’ and why people continue to work while unwell.
It is inviting organisations to take part in the research, and in return they will receive tailored feedback and advice on managing presenteeism in their organisations, which the researchers hope will improve employee health and wellbeing, productivity and working experience.
The three-part study will involve an organisation-wide survey, a diary study involving a selected group and interviews with selected employees.
Firstly, employees will be sent a survey in order to help the researchers form an overall picture of the workplace, the types of health conditions most commonly experienced and employee perceptions of presenteeism and absenteeism.
The diary study will explore how employees make their decisions to go to work or work from home when they are not feeling well. The staff involved will complete a small survey each working day for up to three weeks.
Finally, interviews with employees and line managers will explore how they feel abour their decisions, the effect their decisions have, and what kind of support and adjustments respondents tend to receive and how these may benefit them.
Lead researcher, Huijun Chen, said: “Since the pandemic started, the trend of working from home is dramatically rising, which is adding more strain on people’s mental health because of the blurring of work and non-work boundaries. Nowadays it is even more important to understand how we can set boundaries between work life and home life so as to protect our health and our productivity.
“At the end of the study, we will have developed insights into how employees decide whether to work when they are unwell and how they can be better supported to make decisions that optimise their productivity whilst supporting their mental and physical health.”