A data-driven approach can help identify employees falling victim to e-presenteeism in lockdown

Worker at home

A side-effect of the new remote working culture brought about by lockdown, is leading to a sharp rise in ‘e-presenteeism’ as employees feel the need to prove their worth to employers by going above and beyond working hours.

James Don-Carolis, Managing Director at TrueCue, says the fallout could lead to a sharp rise in ‘employee burnout’. To identify those staff members at most risk he explains how data should be leveraged to identify pressure points, to see where action can be taken, to alleviate pressures.

Don Carolis elaborates: “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.

“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 wellbeing surveys to understand how employees are coping, both in their work-lives and their personal lives at present.

Don-Carolis continues: “Internal data can also be collated and analysed to gain a better understanding of the workload of each employee. Communication and transparency are often hindered with a dispersed workforce, so it is important managers have accurate insights into the workload of each employee to ensure workloads are evenly spread, and no one is overworked.

“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.

Don-Carolis concludes: “A burned-out state is something no employee should be subject to, particularly at this time. With no real end to the current situation in sight as of yet, it is essential employers and managers are leveraging data available to take urgent steps to reduce e-presenteeism and ensure employees are as satisfied and engaged as possible at present.”