Presenteeism is being talked about much more openly nowadays, due to the health problems related to it being much more acknowledged. But, why do people still do it? According to Adrian Lewis, director at Activ Absence the answer is job insecurity.
Nine out of ten UK employees (92%) have gone into work despite being sick this year and the top reason for presenteeism is the fear of not getting paid, according to new research from insurer, Holloway.co.uk.
Other reasons cited include being scared to get into trouble (22%), not wanting to fall behind on work (11%), thinking they could just get through their illness (9%) and having called in sick too many times (6%).
In May, the CIPD reported that over 86% of organisations had observed presenteeism in their organisation over the last 12 months, compared with 72% in 2018 and just 26% in 2010. They attribute this in part to a rise in work-related stress, anxiety and depression.
Adrian Lewis, director at Activ Absence, said: “Rising presenteeism in UK offices is a growing issue. This new report highlights people are worried about not being paid and they don’t want to fall behind with their work, so they are coming into the office despite being ill.
“With the state of the UK economy uncertain with Brexit on the horizon, employees are scared to take sick days. But if they don’t get chance to recover from illnesses there will be bigger problems down the line.”
The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) also shows the number of working days lost due to absence illness has fallen to the lowest rate on record, with employees taking on average 4.1 days sick in 2017, compared to 7.2 days in 1993.
Lewis added: “The ONS figures suggest that far from becoming a healthier nation, UK employees are simply going into work sick. It is a big issue and employers need to understand the root causes of both presenteeism and absenteeism to offer the best support.
“Having technology and processes in place to record and monitor absence will help companies understand what is actually happening amongst their workforce. With this data, back to work interviews that give people a chance to speak about any issues can be carried out which may enable companies to nip problems in the bud and provide better support.”