Fifth of UK Workforce Not Taking Time Off when Sick
A fifth of UK employees will not take a day off work even when they are genuinely sick, new research has highlighted.
The survey of 1,011 UK workers by hygiene firm SCA found that 19% of workers will not consider taking time off sick, while 26.2% will call in sick but are nervous about doing so.
The research highlighted that the main reason staff were not taking sick days was because of their manager’s and colleagues’ reaction in the past when they were ill.
“People worry about phoning in sick as they feel it can be misinterpreted as a lack of loyalty or commitment to the job,”
said independent employment consultant and author of How to Get a Job You’ll Love, John Lees.
“It’s important that when employees really are sick, they consider the effects that coming into the office could have on other staff members and ultimately their employer by spreading germs among the workforce.”
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development employee relations adviser, Ben Willmott, said that in the current climate people are more likely to go to work while ill.
“People are worried about losing their jobs and there is increased pressure to turn up to work when they are not well. This is counter-productive for both the employer and the employee, as they will not be performing to their potential and might spread their germs to other employees.”
“Illness can lead to problems concentrating, putting off challenging tasks, having less patience with customers and being more likely to get into conflict with other staff.”
“Employers should stress that employees should not take days off work as soon as they have a slight cold, but if someone has a heavy cold and is continuously blowing their nose, or has a temperature, they should not be at work.”
“Managers should keep an eye out for changes in behaviour and performance that might indicate someone is unwell, and if necessary tell them to go home.”
The research also found that one in ten workers believed workplace hygiene contributes directly to ill-health. Despite this, 17% of workers never clean their keyboard and 20% never clean their mouse.(Office Keyboards Dirtier than Toilet Seats)
“Employers should provide well-equipped washrooms with access to anti-bacterial soap and single use paper towels,”
said SCA senior hygiene adviser, Rolf Anderson.