According to new research the majority of employees still come to work despite being ill. This can cause problems in the running of your business, Sage People Advice experts, looks at how you can avoid these problems and minimise the impact on your business.
It’s great to have a workforce full of committed employees. Workers who battle through snarled-up traffic, issues at home and horrendous weather conditions to get to work on time are an asset to any business. However, if they come to work when they’re ill, they could be causing more of a problem for you than if they’d stayed at home.
Over 90% of UK employees still come into work despite being ill, according to new research from Canada Life Group. What’s more, in their survey of over 1,000 employees, 36% of respondents said they would rather use their annual holiday allowance than be tarnished with a poor sickness record.
There are a host of reasons for your employees making it into work when they are sick (known as presenteeism). Some motives found in the research include:
- The employee thinking the illness isn’t serious enough to warrant a day off (76%)
- Having too much work to take time off (31%)
- Worrying about the financial implications (20%)
- Their colleagues and bosses making them feel guilty for taking time off (19%)
- Feeling threatened by the risk of redundancy (13%).
Their reasons may be noble, but coming into work while they’re poorly can bring additional problems to your business.
Bed rest is best
Firstly, if they are genuinely ill, then they are likely to overcome their illness much more quickly if they take time off to rest and recuperate properly. Struggling through the day valiantly is only likely to make things worse, and could result in a much longer-term absence. If stress is a reason for their illness, then this could potentially be very damaging indeed.
Coughs and sneezes spread diseases
Secondly, and even more damaging to your business, is the likelihood of a contagious employee spreading their germs throughout your workplace, resulting in many more poorly employees.
To help counter this mindset of your employees coming into work when they should be resting at home, it’s a good idea to make your thoughts on this clear, with direct communication.
It’s fine to stay away
If your employees are unwell, try not to pressurise them to come in to work, no matter how busy your business is. They may feel that they’re doing you a favour by coming in, but explain that in reality, they’re unwittingly posing a threat to your business.
Presenteeism can make it difficult for your other employees too – sitting close to someone coughing and spluttering isn’t an ideal way to be productive and can cause disharmony among your employees.
Make sure that you explain to each employee they won’t be penalised for taking genuine sick leave, and that you’ll offer support for any absences.
For more support on any aspect of employee absence, log in to your Sage HR Advice service for expert guidance.
Sage People Advice experts