‘Sickies’ to become much harder to take, thanks to latest technologies

David Woods , 07 Feb 2012


It is going to become increasingly difficult to pull the wool over the boss’s eyes and take a false sick day in the future, according to a report into absence management technology by Office Angels.

The study by the recruitment agency Office Angels, compiled to mark the company's 25th anniversary, found employees expect technology to put a stop to the practice, as bosses will be better able to keep an eye on staff.

More than a third (35%) of those surveyed think that 'pulling a sickie' will get more difficult, as bosses will be able to make face time calls with staff.

Those in the North are particularly convinced that this is the case – especially in the North East (43%) and Northern Ireland (44%) – while those in the East are most likely to think they can get away with skipping work, with just 28% predicting an end to unnecessary days off.

Different industries also have different views on the issue, with almost half of those working in arts and culture (50%), sales and marketing (48%) and in HR (46%) feeling that 'pulling a sickie' will get more difficult, while a mere 13% of those in the legal sector agree. Older people are also most likely to say it will become more difficult to call in sick without good reason, with 46% of those aged 55 or over saying they agree with the statement.

David Clubb, MD of Office Angels, said: "Days off sick cost the economy billions of pounds every year, and when they are taken falsely, it can point to a deeper problem with morale. While technological advances may mean staff feel less able to 'pull a sickie', we don't expect an Orwellian world where employers can monitor every move. The most effective way for businesses to tackle this problem is to ensure all their staff feel included in the organisation, understand what it represents, and are passionate about what it is trying to achieve. Sick days should only be taken when a person is genuinely too ill to work."


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Sickness absence - genuine or not?

Peter Marno 07 Feb 2012

The last two sentences in this article are most important and, when coupled with best management practices, will ensure employers minimise sickness absence. All employees are 'second hand goods' and have a propensity to break down occasionally - whether physically or mentally - and the best employers have the right health management tools to deal with the situation and reduce down time. In these situations there is no substitute for good management - or, at least, the knowledge as to where to go for help.

The technology is there

Matthew Scrimshire 08 Feb 2012

I agree that technology is freely available but many companies (up to 50%) still haven't embraced the new tools available, as they still don't see absence and improving the process of managing it as a justified investment. Even the larger HRIS system providers consider absence as an afterthought and don't provide the flexibility that is required in the modern working environment.

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