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Could presenteeism be as harmful to your business as absenteeism?

Much has been said over the years on the issue of employee absenteeism and its impact on a business’s bottom line, but what about the effect of staff attending work whilst sick?

This issue, known as presenteeism, relates to employees working despite being ill, rather than staying at home to recover.

There are many reasons for staff choosing to work whilst sick, including a reluctance to ‘let the team down’ or in order to maintain a proud attendance record. In addition, workers within certain sectors may be under pressure to achieve targets and therefore do not feel that they can afford to be away from work even due to sickness.

While many individuals feel they are demonstrating commitment by attending work despite illness, presenteeism can in fact negative implications:

Productivity loss

Research has shown that ill employees are much less productive than their healthy counterparts, with productivity losses accounting for around half of all health-related costs faced by employers.

Spreading infections to other employees

By reporting for work whilst sick, employees risk passing their illness on to other staff members and setting off a chain of illness through the workforce. This ultimately leads to greater absenteeism and loss of productivity than if the employee who was initially ill had recuperated at home.

Poor future health

A 2009 study found that presenteeism increased the risk of exhaustion and future sick leave as employees try to ‘work through’ illness rather than taking time off to convalesce fully.

Along with implementing cultural changes to remove the stigma of calling in sick, business owners should consider the wider issue of workplace infection and its links with poor indoor air quality (IAQ).

Indoor air pollution is becoming an increasingly hot topic following a recent joint study from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which raised concerns over the quality of air breathed by UK building occupants.

Gibbons Ultraviolet Solutions provides air handling disinfection systems for occupied spaces such as offices, healthcare centres and educational facilities.

Our revolutionary CoilCare® system applies ultraviolet C (UVC) light to the cooling coil of an air handling unit, destroying ‘biofilm’ – a potentially harmful substance which forms due to the build-up of contaminants such as bacteria and mould. The system, which requires minimal maintenance, also prevents biofilm from reforming.

The image to the right is an emphatic demonstration of the power of CoilCare® – petri dish samples taken from the same air handling system before and after the application of our system.

CoilCare could help your business reduce both presenteeism and absenteeism by protecting the health and wellbeing of staff and visitors alike.

To find out more about the innovative CoilCare® system, and for information on Gibbons’ other ultraviolet solutions, call Colin Hardman on 07940 544206 or email

Ultraviolet Solutions

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