HR magazine seeking view on low sickness rates

ended 06. July 2021

A journalist at HR Magazine is seeking views from HRs on employees continuing to work when ill because they are remote working.

  • Are companies seeing reduced sickness rates due to the new WFH culture, as people are more likely to continue working when groggy if they are at home?
  • What are the potential issues this could cause for employers?

Do not attempt to write War and Peace! A few pithy sentences and soundbites will do. Unleash your media kraken!

4 responses from the Newspage community

Star Quote
"The pandemic has accentuated a work culture that is always 'on' and doesn't switch off. "In turn, this has created expectations that are unrealistic in some situations. While the flexibility to have lunch in your garden is great, it has also increased pressure and output for many employees to the degree they feel like they can't take a day off sick. Checking your emails when you wake up and before you go to bed has become the norm. "Employers need to ensure that now, more than ever, staff have a work/life balance otherwise we are going to have a lot of stress and burnout, which could turn a couple of days off into weeks or even months." Communication is key - making sure you are spending valuable time one on one with your team and really understanding how they are. Lets also not forget those that have worked throughout the pandicmic have also not taken much holiday in some cases so this is only going to make the situation worse!
"UK sickness absence is at its lowest levels since ONS data began in 1995. This is largely due to a 'perfect storm' of furlough, social distancing and job insecurity. "Personally, I take the view that if you are sick you are sick, and managers should take an active role in dissuading employees working from home when ill. "The first step is for managers to start role modelling this to others."
"Let's be honest, employees' approach and attitude to sickness and absence has always been more of an engagement issue than whether people are really sick or not. "As a result of the pandemic and increased working from home, I think employees are more likely to work 'around' sickness now, which can make it harder for leaders and managers to record and monitor the true levels and reasons for sickness and absence. "We know that not having to commute and having a better work/life balance has meant a reduction in sickness levels, as we see an increase in improved wellbeing. However, I suspect that in real absence terms there will be less of the coughs and colds culture and a significant rise in stress-related absences moving forward, which requires a different level of leadership skills to deal with 'unseen' illnesses."
"Now that people can work from home and are more likely to be outcome-based rather than hours worked, perhaps they just aren't as sick. "No more stressful commutes, no more accidents as you rush to get to work. Work when you feel most productive and it fits best with your personal life which reduces stress even more. "Stress is the cause of many days off, so if you reduce the stress, the sickness days will reduce too."