Blog

21 February 2019
‘I’m too busy to be sick’

Despite the workplace health and wellbeing trend being a hot topic for many businesses as of late, it seems that employees aren’t making it a priority for themselves. 

New research created by Bupa and Babylon Health found seven in ten employees have delayed seeking medical advice,  despite the majority of businesses having no problem with their staff taking time off for medical reasons. It also found that employees still aren’t being open, with 32% playing down their illness or injury and 72% feeling too busy to miss work.

Mark Allan, Commercial Director at BUPA UK said:

“As an SME, your people are your greatest asset, which is why giving colleagues multiple routes to get help can only be a good thing – be it over the phone [or] online through clinically approved resources. And if you can encourage greater self-care by providing convenient solutions, we believe companies will really benefit by having a healthier, happier workforce. This is of course a good in itself but has also been shown to boost productivity in the long run.”

The research discovered that male workers between the ages of 18 and 34-years-old, Londoners and those employed in SMEs are more likely than the average person to postpone seeking medical help. The research also found that those in manual roles are more likely to not create a fuss and downplay illness or injuries.

BUPA and Babylon’s research lines up with previous research from Holloway.co.uk which found that 92% of Brits have gone into work despite being sick, with fears of not getting paid accountable as the top reason.

The survey discovered concerning reasons why staff went into work despite being sick:

  1. I was worried I would not be paid – 51%
  2. I was scared I’d get into trouble – 22%
  3. I didn’t want to fall behind with my workload – 11%
  4. I thought I could power through my illness – 9%
  5. I had already called in sick too many times – 6%

It is up to HR or senior management to educate employees on the importance of taking time off sick when they need it and explain the impact of ignoring illness. Attending work whilst sick negatively impacts on the business as the work completed whilst ill can be poor. Aside from this, it could also have longer-term impacts on their health.

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