Evolutionary steps to preventing presenteeism

Evolutionary steps to preventing presenteeism
Evolutionary steps to preventing presenteeism

Paul Avis

Paul Avis

Managing Director

Canada Life
Group Insurance

Canada Life<br>Group Insurance

Presenteeism is a stubbornly persistent trend among the UK workforce. We’ve been researching this topic for the past three years, but what’s concerning is the lack of improvement over the period. In 2016, nine in ten (90%) employees said they went into the office ill, compared to 93% in 2014 and 89% in 2015.

So why are employees avoiding their sick beds?

Common reasons include heavy workloads (28%), financial concerns (21%) and feeling guilty for taking time off (17%). Taking time off also leaves employees fearing they will be seen as lazy (16%), weak (14%) or inconsiderate (14%).

In fact, only one in five (22%) respondents thought the decision to stay away from the office while unwell would be viewed as sensible by their organisation, despite productivity issues with coming into work sick. 69% of employees say their performance at work is impaired when they are ill. Not only that, but the risk of illness spreading is detrimental - nearly three quarters (73%) of staff say they have become unwell as a result of a colleague’s illness.

This issue of presenteeism must be addressed. If two in five (42%) employees suggest they would come into work with a stomach virus, despite displaying symptoms of nausea and diarrhoea, it’s obvious that far too many organisations are cultivating an unhealthy attitude to recuperating.

Ultimately, if employers fail to address the needs of their employees, they will reach breaking point and leave the organisation leading to high staff turnover. Alternatively, they could go on long-term sickness absence, which is a no-less costly option. Legislation states that Statutory Sick Pay must be paid for up to 28 weeks with many organisations offering occupational sick pay on top of that.

Group Income Protection (GIP) products take a more holistic approach to health. In its simplest form, GIP provides financial cover that ensures the vital costs of everyday living can still be met, should an employee develop a serious illness or injury and is no longer able to work. This basic protection gives staff peace of mind and sends a message that their employer cares about their health and wellbeing.

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