More than three quarters (80%) of respondents would not take time off work for a stress-related illness, according to research by Canada Life Group Insurance.
Its survey of 1,006 full and time-part UK employees, also found that 90% of respondents have gone into work when feeling ill.
The research also found:
- 28% of respondents feel their workload is too great to call in sick, and 21% cite financial concerns as the reason for attending work when ill.
- 17% come into work when feeling ill because they feel guilty for taking time off.
- 16% of respondents think they will be viewed as lazy if they take time off for illness, 14% worry about being viewed as weak, and 14% fear they will be seen as inconsiderate.
- 69% of respondents believe they perform worse at work when they are ill.
- 73% of respondents have become ill as a result of another colleague’s illness.
- 54% of respondents would come into work with the flu, and 42% would attend work with a stomach virus.
- 23% of respondents would only call in sick if they were hospitalised or had no other choice.
- 32% of respondents who feel less secure as a result of the EU referendum vote are more likely to come to work when ill, and 23% willing to work later or carry out unpaid overtime.
Paul Avis (pictured), marketing director at Canada Life Group, said: “Presenteeism is going nowhere, with nine in 10 UK employees still coming in to work when unwell. With financial pressures and excessive workloads cited as the main causes, it is clear employers need to do more to reassure their staff that health and wellbeing is a top priority.
“The vote to leave the EU has thrown everything into a state of flux, so it is of little surprise that people are now more concerned about job security and more likely to come into the office even if they are unwell. Now more than ever, it is crucial for employers to demonstrate they have a clear sickness absence policy in place that will not unfairly penalise anyone who takes time off for being ill.
“It is concerning that stress and mental health issues remain so overlooked. As with physical illness, failing to tackle mental health problems can be hugely damaging not only to the individual, but to the wider business as well.”