Research highlights presenteeism challenge for employers in London

This is what the study revealed

Almost half (45 per cent) of workers in London claim their workplaces are affected by a culture of negative judgement around sickness absence, research has revealed.

The study of 1,123 UK workers by Willis Towers Watson also found 55 per cent of London employees believe they are put under pressure to return to work before they have fully recovered from illness or injury. This could contribute to greater levels of presenteeism,  turning up for work when unwell - which is thought to affect productivity, morale, and recovery from illness.

Fear of a negative impact on job prospects is the biggest reason workers across the UK feel under pressure to return, cited by 50 per cent of respondents, followed by worries about letting colleagues down (46 per cent), and worries over workload and deadlines (35 per cent).

Mike Blake a director at Willis Towers Watson of health and benefits, said: “Presenteeism can have a significant impact on performance and employers may leave themselves exposed to greater long-term problems if they do not make adequate provision for illness and injury when it first occurs.

“Businesses must do their best to tread the line between managing staff back to work as quickly and efficiently as possible while also ensuring they do not work through health conditions.

“There is also a clear employee engagement issue here under the umbrella of a more positive sickness culture, businesses should work to educate employees on appropriate procedures for handling sickness, establish strong communication in cases of absence and ensure staff are aware of the treatment options available to them.”

Another potentially concerning finding for businesses is the fact more than half (53 per cent) of London workers do not believe their employers provide adequate specialist support, care and advice to help them return to work following a period of long-term absence.

He added: “Good communication with employees is important if employers are to better understand prevailing health issues, provide appropriate support and make workplace adjustments where necessary.

“This kind of open dialogue is key to establishing a positive culture around absence. Services should then be put in place to address need and tackle negative trends.

“Case management is one service that can provide the support to ensure these benefits are used appropriately, coordinating input from different sources and liaising with both employer and employee to develop an effective return to work plan.”

 

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