350,000 Brits to call in sick on National Sickie Day

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Recent UK productivity improvements may well take a tumble today on what’s become colloquially known as National Sickie Day. The Employment Law Experts predict that approximately 350,000 people will call in sick, costing the economy around £45 million in wages, lost hours and overtime.

Online accounting software company FreeAgent – which provides software for freelancers, micro-businesses and their accountants – is now calling for disgruntled employees to think seriously about quitting their job and starting their own business instead of calling in sick. Polls from the last few years have found that the majority of workers calling in sick seemingly just needed a break, with top reasons for calling in sick including that they “just didn’t feel like going to work”.

In parallel, recent research from FreeAgent of more than 500 freelancers and micro-business owners found that nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents started their own business because they “wanted a better work-life balance”. This is closely followed by “wanting to be able to choose what they do” (21%).

With nearly three-quarters (74%) of freelance and micro-businesses reporting that they enjoy a good work-life balance since becoming their own boss, Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent is calling for unhappy employees to take the “sickie” to the next step and to seriously investigate starting their own business. “Britain’s economy would surely be better off if unhappy workers who regularly take sick leave instead broke free from the nine-to-five to follow their own passions.”

Molyneux also says their survey found that a lack of capital was less of a barrier than people might think. “A lack of funding can often be a deterrent to potential business owners. But with technology facilitating the ability to work from anywhere in many cases, overheads can initially be very low. 87% of our survey respondents stated that they either didn’t need funding (44%) or that they used personal savings (43%) rather than getting into the red with a bank loan (2%) or by using a credit card (2%).”

FreeAgent research also showed that 10% of working Brits plan to start their own business in 2017 and 54% overall saying they would like to become their own boss at some point in their career. With this in mind, Molyneux adds that it’s important for any new business owner to make sure they are fully prepared before they start up.

“One of the major reasons that new businesses fail is because they cannot maintain a healthy cash flow, so drawing up a detailed business plan and staying on top of your finances is key if you want to make your venture a success.”

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    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson