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The Hidden Dangers of Presenteeism: Prioritising Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace

July 18, 2023

In today's fast-paced work culture, presenteeism has become a silent but significant concern, impacting both employees and organisations. As an HR professional, I am well aware of this issue, having experienced its effects firsthand. In this article, I aim to shed light on the hidden dangers of presenteeism while sharing my personal journey of self-recognition and commitment to prioritise health and well-being to prevent burnout. The Illusion of Dedication vs. Self-Care Presenteeism often lures us into believing that constantly showing up at work, even when unwell or burdened with personal issues, demonstrates dedication. However, this mindset can lead to adverse consequences, compromising physical and mental well-being in the long run, and eventually affecting productivity and job satisfaction. Recognizing Presenteeism Within As an HR professional, my responsibility extends beyond just recognising presenteeism in others; I needed to acknowledge its presence within myself. I myself at times have observed declines in my performance, increased fatigue, and heightened stress levels, indicators that in times past I was succumbing to presenteeism's harmful grip. Embracing Self-Recognition and Change Coming to terms with my presenteeism habits was the first step toward change. It was vital to prioritise my own well-being before advocating for a healthier workplace culture. With a renewed commitment to self-care, I embarked on a journey to nourish my mind and body. Eating better, sleeping better, and moving more have made a huge difference in my day-to-day life. The Road to Self-Care: Strategies and Transformation To prevent burnout and regain balance in my life, I have learnt to adopt various self-care strategies:

  1. Setting Boundaries: I try to establish realistic boundaries between work and personal life, creating space for personal activities and leisure without guilt.

  2. Prioritising Rest: I try to recognise rest as a necessity, not a luxury, I try to ensure ample time for relaxation and quality sleep.

  3. Seeking Support: I am trying to speak up more about my struggles to friends, family, and colleagues who can provide invaluable support and understanding.

  4. Practising Mindfulness: I try to Incorporate mindfulness and meditation into my daily routine to improve focus, reduce stress, and enhance my overall outlook.

  5. Learning to Say 'No': I try to be more selective about commitments empowering myself to invest time in meaningful tasks while preventing overwhelm.

A Commitment to Growth and Leading by Example My journey to overcome presenteeism is an ongoing process. By making my health a priority and embracing self-recognition with compassion, I aim to serve as a positive role model for my colleagues and the workforce at large. As HR professionals/leaders and managers, acknowledging our vulnerabilities allows us to foster a workplace culture centred around compassion and holistic well-being. Recognising and overcoming presenteeism within ourselves is fundamental to promoting a healthier workplace. Let us be transparent about our struggles and lead by example, prioritising self-care and mental well-being. Only when we nourish ourselves can we create an environment that empowers employees to take care of their own health and well-being. Remember, we can't pour from an empty cup, so let's embark on a journey of self-recognition and embrace a culture that values the well-being of all employees, fostering a happier, healthier, and more productive work environment.

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