Number of employees working while sick more than triples since 2010

Overworking can lead to many mental health issues and CIPD findings unearths the worrying scale of trends such as presenteeism and leaveism

Number of employees working while sick more than triples since 2010

Showing willingness in your job is no doubt healthy for future career prospects. However, going as far to clock in while ill may put your mental health on the line and new research finds the majority of Brits can’t help themselves.

Of 1,000 HR and learning and development professionals surveyed by CIPD, the HR management firm, 86% admitted to witnessing presenteeism – the act of clocking in under the weather. The figure is up from 72% in 2016 and has rocketed even further from just 26% in 2010. 

Moreover, 69% reported seeing leaveism – the practice of working during annual leave – taking place in their business over the past 12 months. Such statistics are closely associated with an increase in common mental health issues, with 55% reporting conditions such as anxiety and depression in a 14% hike from 2016.

Yet companies aren’t supplying the treatments needed to detach employees. The survey found a mere 25% witnessed their employer attempting to aid the presenteeism situation, dropping from a perceived effort of 48% in 2016. And when it comes to taking action, 18% admitted their company isn’t doing anything to help at all.

Commenting on the findings Rachel Suff, senior employment relations adviser at CIPD, said: “The survey shines a light on the shocking scale of presenteeism and leaveism we have in the UK, as people feel under even more pressure at work. Increasingly the threats to well-being in the modern workplace are psychological rather than physical, and yet too few organisations are discouraging unhealthy workplace practices and tackling stress, which is strongly linked to health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

“Good leadership and people management practices form the bedrock of healthy and resilient workplaces, so every employer needs to focus their attention on these areas if they want long-term, sustainable change.”

Mental health reigns quietly as one of the most powerful burdens over employees. However, dethroning it will prove difficult unless employers give over-dedicated workers the reassurance they need. 

Angus Shaw
Angus Shaw

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