If you are ill do not go into work

You wake up feeling ill and contemplate phoning in sick but you are needed at work. Your employers will have to find cover and you do not want to get a reputation for being work-shy.

This is why far too many people go into work when ill. They kindly share their disease with colleagues and customers. A recent survey carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce says that more than four out of five workers are reluctant to take time off work because they feel guilty when phoning in sick.

Chris Hannant of BCC says: “Employees may feel the need to go beyond the call of duty and work through an infectious illness. But this is not the way to make a positive impression. There needs to be a bit more common sense about taking sick leave when you are ill. The BCC survey found that three quarters of UK bosses believe ill staff should stay at home and recover, rather than spend an unproductive day at work. When it comes to infectious illnesses such as cold and flu, rest and recover. One day at home, where you can rest and avoid contaminating others, is key to breaking the sickness cycle. You will be considerably more productive when you return to work.”

Presenteeism, the act of going into work when ill, is now viewed in some quarters as posing a bigger risk to a business’s bottom line than sickness absence. It is a far bigger problem than absenteeism. The higher up the ladder you go the more prevalent and more costly it is. Employers who have a culture of encouraging employees to struggle in are going to have to change. Their primary responsibility is to create a safe working environment. They are exposing themselves to the charge of not looking after their employees.

Jill Davies of Westfield Health adds, “It can be so easy to drag yourself into work when you are feeling unwell, but in the long run you’re likely to just do yourself and other colleagues more harm.”

Westfield Health provides a variety of healthcare benefits to help employees get quick access to the diagnosis and treatment they need, when they need it. Such benefits include a GP telephone consultation service, physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic treatment and consultation, as well as access to MRI, CT and PET scanning facilities.

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If you are ill do not go into work
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