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An exploratory study into the relationship between physical activity and presenteeism in the Irish workforce

O’Malley, Aoibheann (2021) An exploratory study into the relationship between physical activity and presenteeism in the Irish workforce. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Abstract

This research study explores the relationship between physical activity and presenteeism. In doing this it explores workplace wellness programmes and initiatives to see if creating a culture change, that engrains a healthy lifestyle as part of everyday practice, is what is necessary in order to be successful at combatting presenteeism. According to Waterworth et al. (2018) a culture that focuses more on productivity than health and wellbeing is a barrier to employee’s participation in workplace health promotion initiatives.

This research also looks at the benefits of participating in physical activity to see if this has any impact on employee’s performance. Recent research shows that the benefits of physical activity are greater than just illness prevention. In a report published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), entitled the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report, it finds that the benefits associated with being physical activity go way beyond disease prevention. They state that physical activity also provides benefits that help a person to feel better and perform daily tasks more easily (PAGAC, 2018).

This research also looks at ways of helping employees to look after their mental health in the workplace. Biddle (2003) points out that physical activity can enhance an individual’s perception of themselves and this can help in the prevention of mental health illnesses and stress, which is abundant in workplaces today. An Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) study found that job related stress levels doubled between 2010 and 2015, and now stand at 17% (Russell et al., 2018).

The key finding was that there was not sufficient evidence to suggest that there is a difference between the levels of presenteeism in employees that are regularly physically active versus those that are not.

The link between the amounts of physical activity an employee part takes in and the rate of presenteeism that they experience may not have been strong enough to produce any sufficient finding but this study shows that physical activity is shown to be beneficial in other ways. Employees have stated that it helps them to restress and care for their mental wellbeing. It is also widely proven to be beneficial to your physical and overall health. Therefore, employers should still consider physical activity to be an important activity that should be encouraged and supported.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > Human Resource Management > Performance Management > Employee Engagement
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain > Ireland
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Issues of Labour and Work
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Arts in Human Resource Management
Depositing User: Clara Chan
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2022 13:27
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:27
URI: http://norma.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/5264

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