The British 'sickie' is dead, but institute warns against working while ill

The British 'sickie' is dead, but institute warns against working while ill
By Robert Hackwill
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CIPD publishes list of recommendations to change workplace culture and establish best practices.


As the pace of life hots up and the rat race seems more of a marathon than ever, the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development is sounding the alarm in a major report about the health of Britain's workplaces.

The 18th annual survey questioned over 1000 respondents on health, well-being, and absences, or the traditonal British "sickie" of taking time off to get over a cold.

Except that absenteeism appears to be less of a concern nowadays than presenteeism; workers dragging themselves in under the weather, or skipping holidays to catch up on work - leavism.

"Work is more intensive than before, heavier workloads, deadlines that are sometimes unmanageable, and therefore they need the break, so if you're using your leave time to actually get your work done, that's not good news for the health and wellbeing of individuals and, incidentally, for the productivity of the company itself, or the organisation itself," says the CIPD's director , Professor Sir Cary Cooper.

Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed said employees had worked during down time or time off at their workplaces in the last 12 months.

While since 2010 the number of people coming in to work sick has tripled.

It sounds good for employers, but in fact it is counter-productive, and considered unhealthy behaviour in the long-term, yet only 25% of respondants said their companies were taking action against it.

Three factors can bring about change for the better; quality leadership, responsive people management, and a workplace culture where openness, inclusion and trust are the watchwords.

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