Posted By Westfield Health

Posted on22nd June 2023

As the world of work continues to evolve, so does the language around employee wellbeing. In this blog, we explore three important terms that have gained prominence in recent years: leavism, presenteeism and quiet quitting. These workplace ‘wellbeing-isms’ describe different issues employees could be facing. Understanding these concepts can help leaders proactively address potential issues and create a more positive and productive work culture.


The term ‘leavism’ describes using allocated time off, such as vacation days or personal leave, to catch up on work-related tasks instead of taking a genuine break. It can be broken down into three categories:

  • Utilising allocated time off, such as annual leave entitlements and flexible hours banked, to take time off when unwell
  • Taking work home that cannot be completed during regular working hours
  • Working while on leave or holiday to catch up

This trend often arises from the pressure to meet demanding workloads or the fear of falling behind. Leavism blurs the boundaries between work and personal life, leading to burnout, reduced wellbeing and decreased productivity. 

Tackling leavism

Workplace culture plays a large role in leavism. It’s important to ensure your company has a wellbeing strategy in place and a culture that doesn’t promote leavism or ignore the signs of it. 

Encouraging a healthy work-life balance, fostering a culture that values time off and providing adequate support systems can help employees detach from work during their time away. You should also promote open communication about workload management to ensure employees feel comfortable approaching management for assistance if they feel overwhelmed.


While absenteeism has traditionally been a concern, presenteeism has emerged as an equally significant issue in the modern workplace. Presenteeism refers to employees being physically present at work but performing below their optimal level. This can be for various reasons, including illness, stress or personal issues. Employees may feel they have to show up despite their reduced productivity, fearing negative consequences or job insecurity.

Tackling presenteeism

Presenteeism can be combatted by cultivating a culture that values employee wellbeing. Encouraging open dialogue, providing mental health resources and creating a supportive environment can help employees feel comfortable seeking assistance when needed. 

Flexible work arrangements, wellness programs and policies that promote work-life balance can also contribute to reducing presenteeism, allowing employees to prioritise their health without fear of judgement or repercussions.

Quiet quitting

Quiet quitting refers to a passive disengagement by employees who mentally and emotionally check out of their work while physically remaining in their roles. These employees may no longer feel motivated, connected or satisfied with their work, leading to reduced productivity and diminished performance. Unlike traditional resignation, quiet quitting may go unnoticed, as employees continue to fulfil their job requirements superficially while lacking commitment and passion.

Tackling quiet quitting

There’s a need to focus on employee engagement and satisfaction to address quiet quitting. Regular feedback, performance conversations and recognition programmes can help identify disengagement early on. Providing opportunities for growth and development, creating a positive work environment and ensuring alignment between employee values and organisational goals can create employee enthusiasm and help to combat quiet quitting.

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