From presenteeism to e-presenteeism: how to avoid the burnout effect

May 10, 2021

Featured-Image_Blog_From presenteeism to e-presenteeism: how to avoid the burnout effect _EN

The ‘burnout syndrome‘ has always been a concern for HR managers. With the notable increase of remote working in the next normal, that concern remains and is taking on a new dimension. It is necessary to monitor ‘technostress’, in addition to minimizing the negative impact of e-presenteeism or telepresence. 

 In the same way that analogical presenteeism is a burden for real productivity, the feeling of a permanent connection and 24/7 availability can lead to a burnout dynamic. As of May 2019, the WHO officially recognizes that work-related stress negatively affects the psychological and physical health of workers. On the other hand, the WHO itself estimates that one in five people will suffer from some mental health-related condition in the post-pandemic reality. Twice as many as in a normal scenario.  

Using technology to manage objectives and circumvent telepresence 

Although it may seem paradoxical, digitalization can be the solution to minimize the negative impact of virtual presenteeism. Especially when it comes to linking productivity to Management by Objectives, which reduces the time spent online and the feeling of being constantly available and online, without necessarily being beneficial to strategic objectives. 

The use of HR software also allows the development of an internal communication dynamic that reduces the feeling of isolation and loneliness. In addition it reduces the uncertainty of facing a disruptive situation by sharing goals, solutions and concerns with the rest of the organization. 

There is a legitimate fear that presenteeism is being transferred to the virtual environment. It cannot be ruled out that some cases are manifesting themselves. However, remote HR management can keep e-presenteeism at bay. 

Evaluating performance with KPIs

Beyond connection time or virtual availability, the evolution of projects, and therefore employee productivity, should be linked to measurement items related to clear strategic objectives and timeline milestones. E-presenteeism should not be one of these performance indicators. 

Creating a fluid communication

Through informal channels that allow sharing feelings, obstacles and solutions in the remote workflow. This significantly reduces the feeling of facing things alone in situations that, in reality, are similar for other team members. 

Promoting reconciliation

Remote HR management tools make it possible to establish work models, schedules, shifts and rotations that contribute when it comes to achieving objectives. Thanks to these tools, we can establish an operating dynamic that is geared towards the reconciliation of private life, and not towards “hijacking” of all the available time of the employees. 

Although e-presenteeism is a risk, the combined use of HR management software with an appropriate corporate “right to disconnect” policy can keep the specter of burnout away from your organization.