‘Presenteeism’ putting UK workers’ health and productivity at risk

Tom Newcombe , 14 May 2013


More than two-thirds of UK workers say it's becoming increasingly common for people to attend work while unwell, according to research from Capita Employee Benefits.

In the survey of more than 3,000 UK employees, 59% said they felt pressured to go to work while they felt ill.

Despite this, more than three in four (78%) recognise colleagues who are genuinely sick should stay at home until they get better for the benefit of both themselves and those around them.

Robin Hames, head of marketing for Capita Employee Benefits, said: "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 their 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."

The research also found 63% of respondents went to work the last time they were ill, while almost half (47%) are worried what their employer will think of them if they take time off to visit their doctor or dentist.

Hames added: "Rates and reasons for absenteeism and, indeed, presenteeism, vary between sectors but strong management data and technology can support sustainable attendance levels and help to manage any health or business continuity impacts before problems escalate."

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