020 32 86 58 51  |  023 80 972 434

According to new research from Reuters, people are going to work even if they’re sick, and it’s on the increase.

The number of working days lost due to illness has fallen to it’s lowest ever rate, but that doesn’t mean we are getting healthier or any less sick.

There is an increasing uncertainty in the job markets and the rise of zero hour contracts – where employees are not paid sickness – which means that people are coming into work even when they are too sick and don’t feel up to it.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) stated that employees took an average of 4.1 sickness days in 2017 compared to 7.2 in 1993 when the recording of this data began.

This sounds as if we are getting healthier, but there has been no significant rise in productivity in this same period which you would assume would happen if there are a greater number of healthy staff at work for a greater number of days.

However, if staff are turning up and working below their normal rates – and perhaps also making co-workers ill as well – then the productivity rates will not rise, which has been evidenced.

People fearing for their jobs or knowing they won’t get paid for sickness absence is perhaps forcing them to come into work when they should not.

86% of firms said that they had an issue with presenteeism – staff turning up to work but not able to perform the role – but only a quarter were actively addressing it or treating it as a serious problem.  Presenteeism is said to cost the economy twice as much as absenteeism does because “you turn up to work ill and add no value, you just turn up for face time”.  On top of that you may give it to everyone else in the team and multiply the problem.

Perhaps businesses should have a policy to encourage absence with sickness – not rewarding it of course – to ensure that overall productivity is no effected.