Scottish employees frequently going to work when ill

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Over half (55%) of Scottish employees go to work despite not feeling well enough, according to CIPD Scotland.

In a new report, Working Lives Scotland, CIPD Scotland found presenteeism to be one of a number of issues impacting job quality and wellbeing.

This level of presenteeism was even higher for employees with disabilities at 63%.

Almost a third (30%) of employees in Scotland had mental health issues and 26% said they found it hard to relax in their personal life because of their job.

Of those who experienced anxiety, 66% said their job had contributed to this, similarly 58% of those with depression said work had added to this.

The survey was carried out by YouGov before the coronavirus pandemic, yet report author and senior public policy adviser at CIPD Scotland Matrek Zemanik said wellbeing had continued to deteriorate during the crisis.

He said: ”The survey was conducted before the coronavirus outbreak, and we know that some of the measures around wellbeing and job security have already deteriorated since the pandemic, making it imperative for employers to take action on some of the findings in the report.

“We need to ensure that job quality and fair working practices are at the heart of Scotland’s economic recovery.”

More than a third (34%) of all employees reported their workloads were too high in a normal week, with 24% always or often feeling exhausted at work, 22% feeling like they were under excessive pressure and 13% bored and miserable at work.

Lee Ann Panglea, head of CIPD Scotland and Northern Ireland, said the idea of ‘good work’ is fundamental to wellbeing.

“Worker wellbeing continues to be a challenge and this will only have been exacerbated in the pandemic. Managers should make it a priority to ensure that they are communicating with their staff regularly, whether people are working remotely or in a workplace setting, to ensure that employees can manage their workloads and that they are not under excessive pressure.”

The report also found a positive correlation between flexible working and job satisfaction.

Over half (52%) said their job offered good opportunities to develop skills yet only 29% said there were prospects for career development in their current role.

Employees in the public sector were more likely to feel they were doing “meaningful jobs” compared to the private sector.

Professor Patricia Findlay, co-chair of Scotland’s Fair Work Convention, said the report made for interesting and challenging reading.

She said: “The five core dimensions of fair work - effective voice, opportunity, security, fulfilment and respect – are crucial to individual well-being, business/organisational performance and to positive economic and social outcomes.

“Data that helps us to better explore how these dimensions are experienced by workers in Scotland, and with what consequences, is of great importance not just to our understanding, but also to designing practice and policy interventions.”

Further reading:

Now is the opportunity for a clean slate, says former NBA star John Amaechi

UK HR directors predict huge rise in gig economy

Employees losing confidence in leaders throughout coronavirus pandemic

What lessons leaders can learn from observing a toxic environment

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