Objective: The objective of this commentary is to discuss the issues surrounding the concept of presenteeism, including the measurement of lost work time per individual, the conversion of the scores attained by the instruments into expressions of productivity loss, and the translation of productivity losses into economic outcomes.
Methods: Literature searches using PubMed and MEDLINE were conducted using “presenteeism” and “productivity” as keywords and combined with other studies known to the authors. Publications on presenteeism instruments and their applications were included.
Results: Substantive questions remain about the measurement of presenteeism, its conversion into lost productivity, and the translation of presenteeism into financial equivalents.
Conclusions: Many aspects of presenteeism still warrant caution, especially when using presenteeism measurements to quantify economic outcomes. Focusing on productivity at the population level, rather than the individual level, may be more appropriate.