Employees going into work when unwell

More than two thirds (67.5 per cent) of employees go into work when they are unwell, with 68.3 per cent admitting that they feel guilty for taking sick days, according to a study.

Research from independent job site, CV-Library finds that the average employee (66.4 per cent) only takes between one to two sick days a year.

The study, which surveys 1,300 UK workers, goes on to reveal that 86.5 per cent of workers feel much less productive at work when they are unwell.

Some 84 per cent of employees believe they should not go into work when they’re sick.

However, more than half (54.6 per cent) report that their employer does not send them home when they’ve been unwell at work.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library says that staff productivity and wellbeing are key contributors to the success of any SME and this is why it’s important to promote best practice in the workplace.

‘Breeding a culture that encourages people to come to work when sick is not beneficial to employees or businesses and if workers are clearly ill, they should be advised to go home and recover. This means that they can then return to work, happy, engaged and ready to make a valuable contribution to the business.’

A third (34.2 per cent) of employees reveal that their managers even put pressure on them to return to work early and a further 44.7 per cent say their employer questions their sickness when they are ill.

Also, more than half (52.9 per cent) of managers still contact their employees while they are off sick, adding extra pressure and not giving staff time, and space, to relax and recover.

Biggins adds, ‘Managers play an important role in reassuring staff that taking time out to recuperate is ok, but it’s clear from our research that the majority of workers feel the pressure from their boss to return to work before they are ready, and this probably stems from the top.

‘While it might be frustrating for SMEs to operate on a lower head count, in the long run, it’s better for everyone that poorly employees are not in the office; germs aren’t spread, staff recover more quickly and the hours they do spend at work are much more productive.’

Only half (55.9 per cent) of companies offer sick pay, while 94.3 per cent of workers believe that all businesses should continue to pay their employees when they are off sick.

Further reading on sickness

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

Related Topics

Employee wellbeing