Rising ‘presenteenism’ is putting UK workers’ health and productivity at risk

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Over two-thirds (70 percent) of UK workers say more and more people are coming to work when ill, according to research from Capita Employee Benefits.

More than half of respondents (59 percent) say they feel more pressured to attend work when sick than they used to.

However, 78 percent say colleagues who are sick should stay at home to get better and prevent spreading illness.

A third (63 percent) of respondents went to work the last time they were ill, while 47 percent are worried what their employer will think if they take time off for an appointment with the doctor or dentist.

These findings are based on a survey of over 3,000 people in full or part-time employment.

Robin Hames, head of marketing for Capita Employee Benefits, said: “Whether this pressure [to come to work when ill] is real or imagined, articulating a sensible approach to health and absenteeism helps avoid encouraging potentially infectious people into the workplace.”

“The term presenteeism – coined to describe being at work while unwell or out of hours – has gained momentum during the economic turbulence of recent years but being present doesn’t always equate to being productive.”

About Jamie Lawrence

Jamie Lawrence, HRZone

Jamie Lawrence is editor of global online HR publication and community HRZone.com. He is committed to driving forward the HR agenda and making sure that HR directors have the knowledge and insight necessary to make HR felt across the whole organisation. He regularly speaks to audiences of 250+ and has interviewed key HR industry names, including Daniel H. Pink. He has worked previously as a small business journalist and a copywriter and has published non-fiction that reached #2 on the NYT Children's Bestseller List. In his spare time Jamie likes writing fiction, films, fitness and eating out.


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