5th February 2019

British workers are too scared to phone in sick

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Nearly 80 per cent of Brits drag themselves into the workplace when unwell because they fear their boss, research has shown.

The study, carried out by People HR, highlighted that the majority of staff will carry on working as are concerned they will be judged or face office backlash.

More than one in ten (13 per cent) have experienced judgement from colleagues and nearly a quarter (24 per cent) carry on due to pressure from their boss.
A total of 66 per cent of Brits suffering from a cold or flu have still gone into work and 22 per cent have refused to phone in sick when suffering from stress. It is thought this could be down to 40 per cent of respondents feeling their boss didn’t believe they were genuinely ill when they have previously phoned in sick.

Nearly a third of Brits admitted they are too scared to talk to their boss about needing time off for a health-related issue, whilst almost three quarters say there are times their current employer does not adequately look after their physical and mental wellbeing.

Sat Sindhar, Managing Director at People HR, said: “In our experience, companies who encourage people to rest when they are physically or mentally unwell, benefit from lower staff turnover and better productivity. Besides, is it really responsible to let an ill person serve food, operate dangerous machinery, or run payroll?

“It concerns me to see how many employees across the UK are hesitant to call in sick due to guilt and pressure from their employer. We need to break the taboo of sick days and be seen encouraging employees to make that decision about their health, knowing they will be supported if and when they do.”

Many UK workers are reluctant to speak to their employer about their health and wellbeing, perhaps due to 67 per cent feeling guilty about taking time off for illness or other health-related issues.

Office benefits would help boost morale and improve the wellbeing for many employees and encourage a better performance. Nearly half of Brits (45 per cent) admitted they would consider workplace benefits more valuable than receiving a higher salary.
Nearly half of Brits (47 per cent) admitted that their current employer does not offer any benefits of perks in order to improve their wellbeing.

Top 10 workplace benefits UK workers believe would improve their wellbeing:

  • An extra day off for your birthday – 33 per cent
  • Free breakfast – 30 per cent
  • Unlimited holiday – 29 per cent
  • Fruit provided – 27 per cent
  • Allocated ‘duvet days’ (a day off when you feel like it, with no prior notice needed) – 25 per cent
  • Health insurance – 25 per cent
  • A work ‘nap room’ to have a power nap during the day – 23 per cent
  • Free massages at work – 22 per cent
  • Free yoga classes during work hours – 19 per cent
  • Discounted membership at nearby gyms – 17 per cent