Leaveism is one of those funny-sounding words with potentially big consequences. In the United Kingdom alone, businesses have seen a 37% increase in leaveism over the past year. So what is it, and what are the consequences of not learning to avoid it?
What Is Leaveism?
Leaveism is a relatively new term coined in 2013 by Ian Hesketh, PhD. Of course, the concept behind it is quite a bit older. It describes when employees use accrued annual leave or excused absences to work outside scheduled hours and catch up on workloads.
The term joins the ranks of absenteeism and presenteeism, when employees are present but not functioning well due to injury, exhaustion, or another condition.
This practice is a natural extension and consequence of several trends in the modern workplace, including:
Leaveism also extends to employees using paid leave to recover from illness. Workers do this when their job doesn’t provide sick leave. It also occurs if an employee has fears about falling behind and getting replaced.
Why Should HR Personnel Know?
Modern businesses face mounting pressure to operate in a lean fashion and deliver higher value. Leaveism sounds like an attractive antidote or a strategy to exploit. However, it’s not healthy for the sustainability of your business model or your employees. It feeds a vicious cycle of worker overload, despair, and diminishing returns.
Think about the everyday challenges of working in a modern office. Interruptions and distracting influences, such as loud conversations or visitors coming and going, riddle the workplace. When workers feel like they can’t keep up with obligations due to distractions, leaveism will compound the problem and lead to feelings of pressure and panic.
Workers turn to this practice because they worry that feeling overwhelmed could flag them for disciplinary action or dismissal. If employees are overwhelmed and worried about punitive action, what does it say about the company’s culture? HR should tune into this problem, as leaveism isn’t the crux—it’s a sign of something worse. This practice is attractive to employees who feel burned out […]
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Source: HR Daily Advisor