35% of staff worked when ill during past 18 months

7 in 10 of employers witness presenteeism at workNew data has highlighted that more a third (35%) of UK adults have continued to work while feeling unwell in the past 18 months, rising to almost half (46%) among those aged 18-34.

Research carried out by Opinium on behalf of Canada Life found that 21% of adults who admitted to doing this said that they would have taken the time off if there were no lockdown restrictions.

Half of the 2,002 people surveyed UK worked while ill because they thought the illness was not serious enough to take time off for, which was an increase of 10% from 40% last year, with 27% saying their workload was too high and almost a quarter (24%) worrying about the financial implications of taking sick leave.

Almost one-third (32%), a decrease from 46% during the peak of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic in 2020, of those working from home felt more pressure regarding presenteeism, which is where employees work despite being ill. Furthermore, 37% of 18-34-year-olds admitted to feeling this way compared to only 27% of those aged 55 and above, while 37% of women experienced the need to be more present at work compared to 28% of men.

Dan Crook, protection sales director at Canada Life, believes it is important for employees to take time off and that employers have a key role to play in facilitating this.

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He explained that Coronavirus has had a “drastic” effect on the structure of work days and how work gets done, causing higher levels of stress and an anxiousness to be present.

“Group protection policies are a way for employers to demonstrate their commitment to employee wellbeing, including services such as GP access, mental health support and burnout prevention. It is through policies such as these, that employers can show that they are serious about the wellbeing of their workers, and in turn, encourage employees to take care of their own wellbeing too,” he said.