Sickness presenteeism, health and productivity (SHOP)

Presenteeism, that is to work despite poor health, and the consequences it has for employees' health and work performance have recently aroused great interest among researchers, employers and other actors.

Several international studies indicate that presenteeism is a common work behavior, although there are differences between different professions and countries. The behavior can be costly in terms of deteriorating health for employees or loss of productivity (employer cost) due to impaired work performance.


Research on presenteeism has increased in recent years, but there is scant knowledge about the risks of future ill health and about how much productivity decreases due to presenteeism. The project will investigate connection between sickness presenteeism and sick leave, various types of illnesses, future ill health and reduced productivity.


The SHOP project investigates issues concerning sickness presenteeism and discusses both negative and potential positive results that presenteeism can have for the well-being of employees. Furthermore, the project aims at a deepened understanding of how work environment factors affect employees' decisions to be either on sick leave or absent. How presenteeism contributes to limited productivity is also examined. The project employs data from five separate surveys of sickness presenteeism collected during the years 2001–2015.

The project is expected to provide increased knowledge about the work ability / ill health relationship, the effects of sickness presenteeism on health and productivity and the potential moderating effects of the work environment on the association between presenteeism and health. The knowledge can be used in work environment and health initiatives.

Researcher, project time, and funding

Participating researchers are Gunnar Bergström (principal investigator), Emmanuel Aboagye, Christina Björklund, Jan Hagberg, Klas Gustafsson, Staffan Marklund, Gunnar Aronsson, and Constanze Leineweber. The project is two years and will be finalized on October 2020. The study is funded by AFA Insurance.


Bergström G, Gustafsson K, Aboagye E, et al. A Resourceful Work Environment Moderates the Relationship between Presenteeism and Health. A Study Using Repeated Measures in the Swedish Working Population. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(13):4711. Published 2020 Jun 30. doi:10.3390/ijerph17134711

Gustafsson, K.; Marklund, S.; Leineweber, C.; Bergström, G.; Aboagye, E.; Helgesson, M. Presenteeism, Psychosocial Working Conditions and Work Ability among Care Workers—A Cross-Sectional Swedish Population-Based Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 2419.

Aboagye, E., Gustafsson, K., Jensen, I., Hagberg, J., Aronsson, G., Marklund, S., Leineweber, C., Bergström, G. What is number of days in number of times? Associations between, and responsiveness of, two sickness presenteeism measures. J Occup Environ Med. 2020. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001843

Aboagye E, Björklund C, Gustafsson K, Hagberg J, Aronsson G, Marklund S, Leineweber C, Bergström G. Exhaustion and impaired work performance in the workplace - Associations with presenteeism and absenteeism. J Occup Environ Med. 2019.

Gustafsson K, Bergström G, Marklund S, Aboagye E, Leineweber C. Presenteeism as a predictor of disability pension: A prospective study among nursing professionals and care assistants in Sweden. J Occup Health. 2019 Jul 11. doi: 10.1002/1348-9585.12070.

Ruhle S.A, Breitsohl H, Aboagye E. et al. To work, or not to work, that is the question” – Recent trends and avenues for research on presenteeism. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 2019. doi: 10.1080/1359432X.2019.1704734.


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Emmanuel Aboagye

Affiliated to Research
Content reviewer:
Anna Frantz