Data analysis could be the cure for presenteeism in lockdown

An increase in remote working amid lockdowns is leading to a sharp rise in presenteeism as employees feel the need to prove their worth by going above and beyond working hours. And with no real end to the current situation in sight, and the risk of a second wave of the virus beyond that, employers are being urged to take steps to ensure employees are not risking burn-out.

James Don-Carolis, of smart data analytics firm, TrueCue says data can be used to identify those staff members at most risk, identify pressure points and to work out where action can be taken to alleviate pressures.

“Recent research has found office workers are working an extra 28 hours a month. From an employer’s perspective these statistics are concerning, particularly as organisation’s increasingly prioritising mental wellbeing. With so much uncertainty around every aspect of our day-to-day lives, it is not surprising that many employees feel obliged to be online as much as possible, in a bid to gain job security. This is, however, not sustainable and is putting employee’s mental health in jeopardy. It is critical managers are taking active steps to identify who these employees are, so they can work with them to encourage a healthy work-life balance," he explains.

“The likelihood is many employees may not be transparent about how they are feeling and if they are working additional hours (due to fear of appearing idle), this can be difficult to address across widespread remote working teams. That being said, analysing internal data will uncover an array of insights that managers can leverage to gain visibility. For example, overall employee sentiment can be gauged by conducting anonymous well-being surveys to understand how employees are coping, both in their work-lives and their personal lives at present.

Communication and transparency are often hindered with a dispersed workforce. Analysing in-house instant messaging data, such as Teams, can be an effective way of identifying whether employees are spending longer online than they were previously and whether the amount of time they are spending online correlates with their workload.

"By giving managers insight into how long employees are spending online, versus their outputs could be another way of identifying the employees that are feeling the need to be online longer than they need to be,” Don-Carolis added.

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