Presenteeism could be harming employee and employer, claims survey

6/18/2013

Attending work while unwell is common practice for around two-thirds of UK workers, according to a new study by Capita Employee Benefits.

Reported by hrmagazine.co.uk, a survey a more than 3,000 UK employees suggests that 63 per cent of respondents went to work the last time they were ill while almost half claimed they believe taking time off to see a doctor could affect their relationship with their employer.

Furthermore, 59 per cent said they felt pressured to go to work while they felt ill. Despite this, 78 per cent recognised colleagues who are genuinely sick should stay at home in order to help themselves and those around them.

It is the role of a leader to reassure sick employees that taking time off for illness is perfectly acceptable, which could be sage advice for employees currently taking leadership coaching courses. 

Robin Hames, head of marketing for Capita Employee Benefits, commented on the figures: "Far from being a nation of skivers, this research shows UK employees are feeling pressure to work while they are unwell, potentially putting their own and colleagues' health at risk.

"Whether this pressure is real or imagined, articulating a sensible approach to health and absenteeism helps avoid encouraging potentially infectious people into the workplace," he added.

Capita Employee Benefits' research follows a similar study by Canada Life Group, cited by cipd.co.uk, which suggests 13 per cent of respondents to a survey claimed their employer did not have support for ill workers in place.