29% go in to work when suffering from a mental health condition


More than a fifth (29%) of respondents go in to work when they are suffering from stress, anxiety or depression, according to research by Bupa.

Its survey of 2,000 UK employees also found that 26% of respondents attend work when they are ill because they worry about the burden of their absence on their team.

The research also found:

  • 64% of respondents have gone into work ill over the past 12 months, and 27% have ignored their doctor’s advice to stay at home.
  • 34% of respondents still go in to work when they are suffering from musculoskeletal issues, for example back ache or neck ache.
  • 20% of respondents went in to work when they were unwell because they felt they had too much work to do to be able to take time off.
  • 16% of respondents attend work when ill because they worried people would think they were not genuinely sick, and 13% went in to work when unwell because they were anxious about their job security.

Stuart Haydock, resilience lead at Bupa Health Services, said: “Over the years we have seen businesses working to create a culture where people feel comfortable discussing their health in the workplace. However it is clear that an element of the stiff upper lip mentality persists and that more needs to be done to encourage employees to safeguard their health and wellbeing, ensuring that they bring their best selves to work.

Mental health conditions and musculoskeletal issues are two of the most common reasons for people to be on long-term absence from work. Yet, as with most conditions, early diagnosis and treatment improves the chance of a faster recovery. We work with many businesses that signpost their people to tools and support that can help them to improve their resilience and address potential health concerns before they develop into something serious. Wellbeing should be a cornerstone of any workplace health policy and promoting the importance of listening to medical advice is a key part of that.”